December 7, 2022

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UC Santa Cruz researchers witness a black hole devouring a star

UC Santa Cruz researchers witness a black hole devouring a star

one of the most cool stuff In outer space it becomes more urgent and mysterious.

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

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

In the news release, university staff broke it down into simpler terms, explaining that “a medium-mass black hole lurking undetected in a dwarf galaxy revealed itself to astronomers when it devoured an unlucky stray star too close.” Black holes are very difficult to detect, and telescopes that capture x-rays or light can’t even catch them. According to NASA. but, Pictures were first taken in 2019 It shows that they appear as dark objects surrounded by glowing hot matter.



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

“We haven’t really found many of these smaller mass black holes, these elusive intermediate mass black holes,” he said.

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

The embodiment of an unfortunate star who stumbles into the path of a black hole.

University of California Santa Cruz / Observatory LLC

He added that such “exciting and unusual” disruption events are rare. Researchers would need to scan 100,000 galaxies to see just one galaxy each year. Still, its discovery is significant because it may 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.

Indeed, 2022 was a favorable 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.