UC Santa Cruz researchers watched a star being devoured by a black hole

one of the most cool stuff In space more attractive and mysterious.

An international team led by researchers from University of California, Santa CruzThe Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and Washington State University saw a black hole devouring a lone star, “tearing” it apart, causing a distinctive bright glow, at the University of California, Santa Cruz on November 10. press release He said.

The monstrous feast, or “tidal disruption event”, was captured in a dwarf galaxy 850 million light-years away by Young Supernova Experiment (YSE), an investigation that follows cosmic explosions and “astrophysical transients”: extreme and devastating events in the dark corners of space.

In the press release, university staff broke it down in simpler terms, explaining that “a hidden undetected intermediate-mass black hole in a dwarf galaxy revealed itself to astronomers when it swept past an unlucky star that had strayed too far.” Black holes are so difficult to detect that telescopes that capture x-rays or light cannot even pick them up. According to NASA. but, Pictures were first taken in 2019 It shows that they appear to be dark objects surrounded by hot, glowing matter.

“We are in what I call the age of celestial cinema,” Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, a UC Santa Cruz professor who studies the “violent universe,” said in a call to SFGATE. Although YSE has helped capture hundreds, if not thousands, of supernovae, he said, finding a medium-sized black hole digesting a star was a pleasant surprise.

“We haven’t really found many of these small-mass black holes, these elusive medium-mass black holes,” he said.

“It was something we didn’t expect,” laughed Ramirez Ruiz.

The embodiment of an unhappy star stumbling onto a black hole.

University of California Santa Cruz / Observatory LLC

He added that such “exciting and extraordinary” disruptive events are rare. Researchers would need to study 100,000 galaxies to see just one galaxy per year. Finding them, however, is important because it could shed light on some of astronomy’s most pressing questions — namely, how supermassive black holes form at the centers of large galaxies, Ramirez-Ruiz said. Even our own Milky Way has one of these giant galaxies at its heart, according to NASA.

In fact, 2022 has been one hell of a year for black holes.

In June, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley gathered possible evidence of a ghost-like “floating” black hole Drift in space. Considered “one of the most bizarre phenomena in astrophysics,” these objects have rightfully captured the hearts of researchers across California.

Ramirez Ruiz says YSE will continue to monitor galaxies for more cosmic events.

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