Astronomers Caught Black Hole SHREDDING A Star: "Tidal disruption" Spotted In A Nearby Galaxy

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Astronomers have discovered a black hole in the course of pulverizing a star 290 million light years away.  The phenomenon take place when a star comes too close to a black hole, and the strong gravity of the black hole causes tidal forces that can tear the star apart. In these proceedings, called tidal disruptions, some of the astrophysical debris is thrown outward at high speeds, while the rest gets ducked toward the black hole. This sources a discrete X-ray flare that can last for several years. Researchers say that the current event is the closest tidal disruption spotted in about a decade. Study co-author Coleman Miller, director of the Joint Space-Science Institute, said “These results support some of our newest ideas for the structure and evolution of tidal disruption events. In the future, tidal disruptions can provide us with laboratories to study the effects of extreme gravity.”

The optical light All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) initially discovered the tidal disruption, recognized ASASSN-14li, in November 2014.  This extraordinary phenomena occurred near a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy PGC 043234. Professor Jon Miller, from the University of Michigan, said “We have seen proof for a not much of tidal disruptions over the years and have developed a lot of ideas of what goes on. This one is the best chance we have had so far to really understand what happens when a black hole shreds a star.”
After a star is shattered by a tidal disruption, the black hole's powerful gravitational forces sucks in most of the star's remnants. Friction then heats this wreckage, producing vast amounts of X-ray radiation.

After this outpouring of X-rays, the amount of light drops as the stellar material falls beyond the black hole's event horizon. Gas every so often falls toward a black hole by flying inward and creating a disk.

But the procedure that generates these disk structures, called “accretion disks”, has remained a mystery until now.

By witnessing ASASSN-14li, the group of astronomers was able to observe the creation of an accretion disk as it took place, by looking at the X-ray light at changed wavelengths and pursuing how those discharges changed over time.

Astronomers are hopeful to discover and study more events like ASASSN-14li so they can carry on to test theoretical models about how black holes disturb their nearby environments, while understanding more about what black holes do to any stars or other bodies that come too close.

The results were issued in the journal Nature
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