When a massive star consumes its fuel, its core ends starts collapsing into a thick object and drives the remaining gas outward in a beautiful event known as supernova.
What’s left is generally black holes or neutron stars. And at the moment, Hubble Space Telescope seems to have seen a supernova collapsing out — telling it caught the moment when a black hole took over the star.
Though some supernova occasions are explosive and leave clouds of remains for thousands of years (also known as nebula) similar to SN 1054, the star in question appears to have initiated to burst and then had all its gas drawn right back into the black hole at its center. This can take place when the core breakdown of the star is particularly massive. Rather than explosion, the remaining gas collapses straight into the core of the star.
NASA, ESA, and C. Kochanek (OSU)
This is artist’s impression of a super-massive black hole that collapses instead of exploding as a supernova.
Not many of these so-called “huge fails” (yes, that is what they are calling them) have been observed, so astrophysicists are alert about the effects. But this specific star, situated in the galaxy NGC 6946, was very bright and it was enough to see from 22 million light-years away and washed-out in an instant, suggesting an enormous stellar-mass black hole was the guilty party.