For ten years, an international team of scientists observed the black hole devouring a massive star in a distant galaxy and captured images of bursting radio waves.
The result is beyond out of this world.
This is what a black hole ripping apart a star looks like. For the first time, astronomers captured images of a je… https://t.co/QwNmVeA1z3— ABC Science (@ABC Science) 1529023291.0
Stuart Ryder of the Australian Astronomical Observatory co-authored the study and described the astounding imagery in an ABC Science interview.
What we are seeing is the utter and complete destruction of a star, which was anywhere from two to seven times the mass of our Sun.
People were quick to be confused with an alleged artist's rendering for the real thing.
@ABCscience always wondered how they took these pictures https://t.co/1TtkWaqyO9— huh-saan (@huh-saan) 1529092858.0
@ABCscience Don't mislead people with crap like this! That's an ARTIST'S CONCEPT, not a real picture of a black ho… https://t.co/r9ycCraW0H— MR Humble 💫 (@MR Humble 💫) 1529099669.0
The real image capture is visually less dramatic, but the colors from the flare are striking!
@nassahmi @ABCscience This is the actual picture https://t.co/Bo6b4BfOdx— Scott Sheakley Jr. (@Scott Sheakley Jr.) 1529097864.0
@scoobaluyt @nassahmi @ABCscience LOL! This makes far more sense to me than the rendition!— NC Dem 🌊 (@NC Dem 🌊) 1529149882.0
According to Science Mag, the phenomenon is called a Tidal disruption events (TDEs), which are the bright flares emitted as a result of a star being ripped apart by the gravitation force of a black hole. Once a wayward star lands within reach, it elongates and emits a bright flare theoretically within the X-ray, ultraviolet and visible light spectrum.
Black holes exist in most galaxies, including our own, and have a mass that's a million times larger than the sun.
A dust-enshrouded, giant black hole ripping apart a star blasted out a superfast jet of particles that packed about… https://t.co/gm973yHizc— SPACE.com (@SPACE.com) 1529006420.0
During these Tidal Disruption Events, not all of a star's gases get stripped and fall into the black hole, and any remaining fragments are ejected back into the galaxy at the speed of light.
Astronomers spotted a giant black hole in a nearby galaxy rip apart an unfortunate wayward star and spread half of… https://t.co/xEVZYuf7o3— NYT Science (@NYT Science) 1529071375.0
@moesqueek @MyManHussain @NYTScience Imagine living on a rock hurling through space.— Daniel Boyd (@Daniel Boyd) 1529145529.0
Ryder said spotting the jet of radio waves was an unprecedented discovery.
It took the best part of a decade before we were able to detect the expansion of this jet using some of the world's best radio telescopes.
⚫️🍽⭐️ Dr Morgan Fraser was among an international team who witnessed the dramatic moment a supermassive black hole… https://t.co/MhOpjNJY9z— University College Dublin (@University College Dublin) 1529079124.0
Ryder explained that previous supernova events were captured within the infrared and radio spectrums, but not via optical telescopes.
None of our optical telescopes, not even the largest ones on Earth, were able to notice anything unusual in the brightness of the nuclear region in this galaxy.
People always expect to see [these tidal disruption events] in the optical wavelengths, but we've shown that's not necessarily going to be the case.
@ucddublin This is a beautiful sight— RollingBeta (@RollingBeta) 1529087723.0
⚫️🍽⭐️ Using radio and infrared telescopes, the team witnessed the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of m… https://t.co/oyaT849AnO— University College Dublin (@University College Dublin) 1529078778.0
The appetite is real.
Gulp. Burp. And so it goes in the cruel and carnivorous universe. https://t.co/8tNG81Ln7K— NYT Science (@NYT Science) 1529017214.0
There's beauty within the violent nature of these cosmic events, and it's a reminder that we truly are a speck of dust swirling around in the universe.