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Supermassive black hole devours a star and throws its remains to Earth

Supermassive black hole devours a star and throws its remains to Earth
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A supermassive black hole swallowed a star, tore it apart and uniquely ejected a beam of light from its center.

in a scientific research report published Wednesday, astronomers say a previously unknown black hole made itself known to observers when a star passed too close and was swallowed.

The astronomers then observed a “afterglow” jet stream from the catastrophe, which experts call a Tidal Disruption Event (TDE), heading directly towards Earth.

“The event began when an unlucky star approached the supermassive black hole (SMBH) on a nearly parabolic trajectory and ripped itself apart in a stream of gaseous debris,” the scientific paper, published Nov. 1, reads. 30. “About half of the mass remained attached to the black hole, it underwent a general relativistic apsidal precession as the gas fell toward the pericenter, and then produced strong shocks at the self-crossing point.”

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The scientists said the jet beam, AT2022cmc, or an “infrared/optical/ultraviolet light curve,” was initially red in color before decaying over four days and changing to a blue hue.

The astronomers added: “Optical and ultraviolet observations revealed a rapidly fading red ‘flare’ that quickly transitioned to a slow blue ‘plateau’, allowing the study of two components generated by tidal disruption: the jet relativism and the thermal component of tethered stellar debris that accumulates in the black hole”.

The destroyed remains were so powerfully bright that astronomers detected the TDE from the dwarf galaxy a million light years away.

The paper added: “Observations of a bright counterpart at other wavelengths, including X-ray, submillimeter, and radio, support the interpretation of AT2022cmc as a jet TDE containing a synchrotron.”

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TDE was discovered in February. 2022, before the science news magazine received the article about it in April 2022, and the research was finally accepted in October 2022.

TDEs have been observed before, such as AT 2020neh in June 2020.

The Herschel Space Observatory has shown that galaxies with the most powerful and active supermassive black holes at their cores produce fewer stars than galaxies with less active black holes.

The Herschel Space Observatory has shown that galaxies with the most powerful and active supermassive black holes at their cores produce fewer stars than galaxies with less active black holes.
(Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Ryan J. Foley, co-author and a UC Santa Cruz astronomer, said this initial discovery would open the way for astronomers to find other TDEs and new dwarf galaxies.

“This discovery has created widespread excitement because we can use tidal disruption events not only to find more intermediate mass black holes in quiet dwarf galaxies, but also to measure their masses,” Foley said in a co-published scientific paper Nov. 10.

The discovery spanned years of research as the distant galaxy was first observed in June 2020 and confirmed with data from the Young Supernova experiment. Re-observed from July 1, 2020 to July 17, 2020; then from August 5, 2020 to September 6, 2020.

“During 24 months of YSE operations, we observed only one AT 2020neh-like event, monitoring fields for approximately 6 months each. This equates to one event per year within the YSE observing volume,” the scientific paper reads.

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These unique discoveries could result in even more discoveries in distant galaxies that would otherwise be undetectable without visible light from the explosion.

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