Black holes vomit up a star years after gobbling it up

Black holes vomit up a star years after gobbling it up

Astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole with a bad case of indigestion, apparently after eating a star to pieces.

The black hole at the center of a galaxy about 665 million light-years from Earth spewed out about three years after engulfing a nearby star. Scientists say since they’re not aware of any other interstellar craters since then, the October 2018 meal must be coming back to haunt it.

This is the first time researchers have observed a black hole with delayed spewing of matter after the feast. The The discovery is published last week Astrophysical Journal.

“It’s as if this black hole has suddenly started ejecting a bunch of material from the star it ate years ago,” said lead author Yvette Sandes of the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In a statement.

“It’s as if this black hole suddenly started ejecting a bunch of material from the star it ate years ago.”

Black holes are some of the most elusive objects space. The most common type, is called a star black hole, is often thought to be the result of a massive star dying in a supernova explosion. The star’s material then collapses in on itself, condensing into a relatively small area.

but how Supermassive black holes It’s like—that’s millions to billions of times More massive than the sun– The form is more mysterious. Many astrophysicists and cosmologists believe that these behemoths lurk in the centers of virtually all galaxies. recent Hubble Space Telescope observations This has strengthened the theory that supermassive black holes get their start in the dusty cores of starburst galaxies, where new stars are rapidly churned out, but scientists are still figuring it out.

Black holes do not have surfaces like planets or stars. Instead, they have a boundary called an “event horizon”, aka a point of no return. If something gets too close, it will fall. Scientists have long said that once matter is engulfed, it can never escape the hole’s gravitational pull.

So how would a black hole throw out its food particles if it supposedly has a cast iron stomach?

Photographing a supermassive black hole

First real image of Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

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In fact, astronomers say it’s very common for black holes to emit light as they swallow a star, but they compare the holes to messy eaters—missing faces as their gravitational forces stretch the star into hot spirals. That activity produced a flash that astronomers observed with telescopes.

It is the fact that this star apparently did not sit well with the black hole for so long that surprised them. Researchers are studying these phenomena Radio telescope For more than a decade, says Harvard astronomy professor and co-author Edo Berger.

“There was radio silence for the first three years in this case,” Berger said in a statement. “And now it’s lit up dramatically to become one of the most lit radios … ever seen.”

The discovery suggests that the delayed outflow of light from a black hole after being swallowed by a cosmic object may occur more frequently than thought.

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