Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Black Hole Observed Destroying Star

A team of astronomers at John Hopkins University have witnessed an event that is believed to only happen once every ten thousand years. A super-massive black hole destroying and absorbing an orbiting star.

The super massive black-hole in question resides in the center of a galaxy 2.7 billion light-years distant from the Milkyway. The John Hopkins team of astronomers led by Dr Suvi Gerzari was looking for ultraviolet light from the center of a galaxy, which is often a clue that a black hole has recently absorbed a star at some point in the past. Much to their surprise the team noticed a bright glare coming from the center of a distant galaxy. This bright light is an indication that a black hole is in the process of consuming a star in close orbit around it. This happens so infrequently that the astronomers have been looking for years to observe the phenomenon.

was looking for a bright flare in ultraviolet light from the nucleus of a galaxy, which is a lingering clue that a black hole has consumed a star. Instead, they discovered an active black hole in the process of consuming a star.

Read complete Australian Geographic article here

Thanks to Dan for the heads up on this article

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