Astronomers have witnessed an extremely rare phenomenon: the end of the star’s life, as it has been obliterated by. And this particular collapse of the star was even more unique because she survived death by “spaghetti” – and no, that’s not science fiction.
According to a new study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers at the Zwicky Transition Facility have noticed a light explosion known as a tidal event, indicating the star’s death in September 2019. Researchers said this week that this is the most the closest such phenomenon ever happened on Earth, which occurs a little more than 21
“The idea of a black hole sucking up a nearby star sounds like science fiction. But that’s exactly what happens at high tide,” said lead author Matt Nichol of the University of Birmingham in Britain.
Using telescopes from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), scientists have been able to study in unprecedented detail what happens when a star is swallowed by. They said the star had about the same mass as the sun, about half of which was lost to the black hole, which is more than a million times larger. The other half was simultaneously thrown into space.
During this violent process of spaghetti, the long thin strands of material that make up the star collapse in the strong gravity of– which actually engulfs him like star spaghetti. The event releases a bright surge of energy that can be detected by astronomers.
“When an unfortunate star wanders too close to a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy, the extreme gravitational pull of the black hole shatters the star into thin streams of material,” said co-author Thomas Wevers, an ESO contributor in Santiago, Chile.
In the past, these torches were often covered by explosions of dust and debris, making them difficult to study. But this time the astronomers were lucky.
This tidal event, called AT2019qiz, was discovered immediately after the event, which facilitates monitoring. Researchers have been studying AT2019qiz, located in a spiral galaxy in the constellation Eridan, for six months as the burst gets brighter and brighter before it disappears.
“Because we caught it earlier, we could actually see the curtain of dust and debris close when the black hole started a powerful material leak at speeds of up to 10,000 km / s,” said Kate Alexander, a staff member of NASA’s Northwest Einstein. university.
“This unique ‘peek behind the curtain’ provided the first opportunity to determine the origin of the blackout material and to track in real time how it absorbs the black hole.”
Astronomers said their observations showed for the first time a direct link between dust and debris emitted by the star and the bright eruption that occurs when it is swallowed by a black hole. They hope that AT2019qiz can serve as a “Rosetta Stone”, helping them to interpret future tidal events and deepen our understanding of the mysterious world of black holes.