Scientists just caught a black hole swallowing a star — and burping a bit back out

Dec 2, 2015

by Rachel Feltman

Astronomers have caught black holes in the act of murdering stars before. But a study published Thursday in Science claims to have caught a step in the crime that has remained elusive until now.

In addition to catching evidence of the star’s destruction — an inevitable death caused by the massive, inescapable gravitational pull of a dense supermassive black hole — the scientists saw a hot flare of matter escape from the scene of the crime.

You can basically think of it as a hot plasma burp.

The researchers say this is the first time anyone has successfully picked up the radio signal produced by this jet of escaping matter. These black hole jets have been seen before, but they’ve never been directly linked to a star being torn apart — and the phenomenon remains pretty mysterious.


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2 comments on “Scientists just caught a black hole swallowing a star — and burping a bit back out

  • If the star is stretched and rotating, then the outermost part will be sling-shot away, as binary stars or planets – (becoming hyper-velocity stars/planets) are! – (conservation of angular momentum) when the inner part of their rotating system is massively accelerated into the black-hole.



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