Scientists have recorded how a black hole destroyed a star, leaving behind space noodles

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) reports on the registration of a rare phenomenon – the last moments of a star’s life, swallowed up by a supermassive black hole.

The recorded event was designated AT2019qiz. It is a burst of light from a star in a spiral galaxy in the constellation Eridani, over 215 million light-years from Earth.

The recorded phenomenon is called spaghettification, or the noodle effect. “When an ‘unlucky’ star passes too close to a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy, the black hole’s colossal gravitational pull rips the star apart into streams of matter, ” the researchers explain.

In other words, due to tidal destruction, stellar matter rushes towards the black hole in the form of thin strands resembling spaghetti. In this case, bright flares occur, which are very difficult to see, since they are often obscured by a curtain of dust and debris. Now researchers have been able to shed light on the origin of this veil.

It is noted that at the moment of absorption of a luminary by a black hole, powerful ejections of matter in the opposite direction can occur. This is due to the fact that the energy released during the absorption of stellar matter by the black hole throws some of its fragments outward.

We add that the research was carried out using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and New Technology Telescope (NTT). Observations in the ultraviolet, optical, X-ray and radio ranges for the first time revealed a direct connection between the outflow of matter from a star and a bright flare at the time of its absorption by a black hole. 

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