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Black Hole Eats Sun-Sized Star

Black Hole Eats Sun-Sized Star

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 26 September 2019



Black Hole Eating a Sun-Sized Star
Black Hole Eating a Sun-Sized Star, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
This illustration shows a tidal disruption, which occurs when a passing star gets too close to a black hole and is torn apart into a stream of gas. Some of the gas eventually settles into a structure around the black hole called an accretion disk. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Big.


Black Hole Eats Sun-Sized Star

NASA’s TESS Mission Spots Its 1st Star-Shredding Black Hole,
NASA, September 26, 2019.


Designation of a deep space event observation, in this case observing the consumption of a star by a distant black hole.

A First
"For the first time, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) watched a black hole tear apart a star in a cataclysmic phenomenon called a tidal disruption event."

How Found
"The planet hunter monitors large swaths of the sky, called sectors, for 27 days at a time. This lengthy view allows TESS to observe transits, periodic dips in a star’s brightness that may indicate orbiting planets."

Rare Events
"Tidal disruptions are incredibly rare, occurring once every 10,000 to 100,000 years in a galaxy the size of our own Milky Way. Supernovae, by comparison, happen every 100 years or so."

Cool Event
“For TESS to observe ASASSN-19bt so early in its tenure, and in the continuous viewing zone where we could watch it for so long, is really quite extraordinary.”

Robot Telescopes, Too
"ASAS-SN, a worldwide network of 20 robotic telescopes...discovered the event on Jan. 29."

Eyes Always Open Planet Hunter
"TESS first saw ASASSN-19bt on Jan. 21, over a week before the event was bright enough for ASAS-SN to detect it."

First, but Slow Data
"...the satellite only transmits data to Earth every two weeks, and once received they must be processed...So the first TESS data on the tidal disruption were not available until March 13."

Early Event Data
“The early TESS data allow us to see light very close to the black hole, much closer than we’ve been able to see before.”

"Astronomers think the supermassive black hole that generated ASASSN-19bt weighs around 6 million times the Sun’s mass. It sits at the center of a galaxy called 2MASX J07001137-6602251 located around 375 million light-years away in the constellation Volans. The destroyed star may have been similar in size to our Sun."

Temp Drop
"...the temperature dropped by about 50%, from around 71,500 to 35,500 degrees Fahrenheit (40,000 to 20,000 degrees Celsius), over a few days. It’s the first time such an early temperature decrease has been seen in a tidal disruption before, although a few theories have predicted it."

Mystery Confirmed
"More typical for these kinds of events was the low level of X-ray emission seen by both Swift and XMM-Newton. Scientists don’t fully understand why tidal disruptions produce so much UV emission and so few X-rays."


Black Hole Swarm Simulation Video
Watch Stars swirl into black holes


A Related Observation

June 2018
Fireworks as Black Hole Eats a Star




Last Black Hole News

Sept 2019
Black Hole Relativistic Accretion Disk Behavior



Visualizing Black Holes

April 2019
Shadow of a Black Hole
First visible view of a Black Hole


Nov 2018
Researchers Create Virtual Reality Simulation of a Supermassive Black Hole
With lots of Black Hole Videos & References.




Astro-Physics Observations, Summer & Fall of 2019

News of Man & Nature, September 2019








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