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The Stunning Photos of a Black Hole Swallowing a Star

The Stunning Photos of a Black Hole Swallowing a Star

You know when we look at the sky, we are actually looking at the past of the universe. For example, when we set our eyes on Proxima Centari, the closest star to Earth, we know that the light that touches our pupils took 4 years to reach us. If something happens in that timeframe, we don’t know.

Obviously, this also applies to cosmic events that are much more distant in spacetime. For example, in April of 2019 the light of an untold catastrophe arrived on Earth. This tracking has been determined by several large space observatories and at first it was not clear what it was. The first conclusion was that it was related to a supernova or exploding star. This was not the case.

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We now know that it is a star ripped apart by a black hole, including the massive outpouring of energy released and the surrounding debris cover. The galaxy in which it occurred lies 730 million light-years away (so it happened 730 million years ago and we only got light from the event now). This galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its center that is between 5 and 30 million times larger than our sun (we’re trying to calculate this).

If a star approaches one of these monsters, it is clearly attracted, but the problem with black holes is that between the closest and the other side, the difference in attraction can be so massive and powerful that it tears you in two. In astronomy, this is called a “tidal destruction event” for which the star undergoes this special effect of the gravitational pull of the crater and then is exposed to the famous “spagetition”, which sounds like a term I now invented but is actually correct. A term describing the extreme elongation of objects ending within the event horizon.

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It’s very rare to discover a phenomenon like this, but it’s unbelievable and tells us a lot about how the universe moved there.

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