Observations from NASA reveal how complex and catastrophic an event it can be when a star gets too close to a black hole, CBS News reported on Wednesday.
Such an event does not occur in a single moment but, according to NASA, can take several months as the black hole's gravity slowly sucks in the star's being.
The latest such observation, which took place over a period of more than five months, was watched by multiple telescopes, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported.
A massive black hole, some 10 times the mass of the sun and located approximately 250 million light years from Earth, managed to tear apart "an unlucky star that wandered too close," according to the observations.
"The side of the star nearest the black hole was pulled harder than the far side of the star, stretching the entire thing apart and leaving nothing but a long noodle of hot gas," according to the report.
The Astrophysical Journal published observations of the event in September, with study co-author Suvi Gezari stating that "tidal disruption events are a sort of cosmic laboratory. They're our window into the real-time feeding of a massive black hole lurking in the center of a galaxy."
The study also noted that the event gave an "unprecedented view" of the formation of a corona, one element of the process which occurred as the star was being torn apart and caused a "dramatic rise" in high-energy X-ray light.
The creation, above the black hole, of the corona, which is a cloud of hot plasma, surprised experts during the observation, because coronae usually come with jets of gas flowing in opposite directions from the black hole. In this case there were no jets at all.
Yuhan Yao, a Caltech graduate student and lead author of the study, wrote that "we've never seen a tidal disruption event with X-ray emission like this without a jet present, and that's really spectacular because it means we can potentially disentangle what causes jets and what causes coronae."
The study concluded that the observations of this event "are in agreement with the idea that magnetic fields have something to do with how the corona forms, and we want to know what's causing that magnetic field to get so strong."
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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