Black hole feeding on a nearby star on a scale never seen before

According to the research of University of New Hampshire, a massive black hole destroyed a nearby star and fed on its remains for over a decade.

The main author of the study Dacheng Lin, who is a research scientists at UNH Space Center, said “We have witnessed a star’s spectacular and prolonged demise,”

Dozens of these so-called tidal disruption events have been detected since the 1990s, but none that remained bright for nearly as long as this one.”

From the data

of three different orbiting telescopes, the scientists found a great Tidal disruptuon event (aka TDE) . Because of the enormous gravity of a black hole, anything that gets close can be destroyed.

During such an event, part of the star debris are flung at very high speed, while the rest gets sucked by the black hole. These sucked debris get heated to million degrees and a distinct x-ray flare is generated.

Such flares are used to study inert black holes. Most of the flares were pretty brief, but one has been persistent for the past decade. This TDE had such a brillant lasting phase that it must have either torn a massive star, or completely destroyed a smaller one.

This X-ray flare is tracked to a small galaxy around 1,8 billion light years away from us. The black hole was named XJ1500+0154. The data about it shows that the radiation has surpassed the Eddington limit, which is defined as the point where the gravitational force inwards equals the continuum radiation force outwards.

This leads to the conclusion that supermassive black holes may grow from such events as TDE at rates above the proposed Eddington limit. The swift growth might explain how such black holes can reach masses up to a billion times our sun when the universe was very young.

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