December – Spinning black hole swallows a star

This artist’s impression depicts a rapidly spinning supermassive black hole surrounded by an accretion disc. This thin disc of rotating material consists of the leftovers of a Sun-like star that was ripped apart by the tidal forces of the black hole. In the process, the star was “spaghettified”, while shocks in the colliding debris as well as heat generated in the accretion disc led to a brilliant burst of light which resembled a supernova explosion. Known as a tidal disruption event, this has only ever been observed about 10 times.


ESO, ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

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