Massive Black Hole Shreds Passing Star
- Visualizations by:
- Brian Monroe
- Written by:
- Francis Reddy
- Scientific consulting by:
- Jon Miller
- Produced by:
- Scott Wiessinger
- View full credits
This artist’s rendering illustrates new findings about a star shredded by a black hole. When a star wanders too close to a black hole, intense tidal forces rip the star apart. In these events, called “tidal disruptions,” some of the stellar debris is flung outward at high speed while the rest falls toward the black hole. This causes a distinct X-ray flare that can last for a few years. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer, and ESA/NASA’s XMM-Newton collected different pieces of this astronomical puzzle in a tidal disruption event called ASASSN-14li, which was found in an optical search by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) in November 2014. The event occurred near a supermassive black hole estimated to weigh a few million times the mass of the sun in the center of PGC 043234, a galaxy that lies about 290 million light-years away. Astronomers hope to find more events like ASASSN-14li to test theoretical models about how black holes affect their environments.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, individual items should be credited as indicated above.
- Brian Monroe (USRA) [Lead]
- Francis Reddy (University of Maryland College Park) [Lead]
- Jon Miller (University of Michigan) [Lead]
- Scott Wiessinger (KBRwyle) [Lead]
MissionsThis visualization is related to the following missions:
SeriesThis visualization can be found in the following series:
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