Black Hole Caught Red-Handed in a Stellar Homicide

These images, taken with NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, show a brightening inside a galaxy caused by a flare from its nucleus. The arrow in each image points to the galaxy. The flare is a signature of the galaxy’s central black hole shredding a star that wandered too close.

The computer-simulated gif animation shows gas from a tidally shredded star falling into a black hole. Some of the gas also is being ejected at high speeds into space. Astronomers observed the flare in ultraviolet light using NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer, and in optical light using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope. The light comes from gas falling into the black hole, and glowing helium from the star’s helium-rich gas expelled from the system.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHU/UCSC


Posted 11 months ago with 2,460 notes
Tagged:Black HoleAstronomysciencestarNASAspacePan-STARRS1telescopegalaxy

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