'Spaghettified' star wrapped around a black hole spotted for the first time - Space.com
May 07, 2021 1 min, 27 secs

Astronomers observe as a giant black hole sucks in a spaghettified star.

Filaments of material wrapped around a supermassive black hole have been spotted for the first time suggesting a star trapped by the black hole's gravity has just been destroyed by ”spaghettification”.

Astronomers believe that the effect more commonly known as tidal disruption, takes place because the black hole's gravity pulls more strongly on the side of the star closer to the black hole.

Previously, the only evidence of such a situation where a star met a violent demise venturing too close to a galaxy's center, came in the form of short bursts of electromagnetic radiation that astronomers occasionally observed emanating from supermassive black holes.

In this new study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on March 24, a team of astronomers from the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) and Radboud University in the Netherlands has successfully detected such a spaghettified star in spectral absorption lines around the poles of a distant black hole.

The astronomers observed the spectral absorption lines when looking at the black hole's rotational pole.

The team believes that this material is the torn star as it orbits around the black hole before disappearing inside of it.

Made of material that is drawn to but not yet swallowed up by the black hole, the disk orbits around the equator at a very high speed, emitting heat, X-rays and gamma-rays in the process.

Millions and even billions of times heavier than the sun, supermassive black holes are believed to lurk at the center of most galaxies.

Stars that orbit in the central parts of galaxies might occasionally wander so close to the black holes that they get trapped by their gravity.


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