MIT: Closest Example Yet of a Black Hole Devouring a Star

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MIT: Closest Example Yet of a Black Hole Devouring a Star

Post by bystander » Mon May 01, 2023 5:58 pm

Astronomers Detect the Closest Example Yet of a Black Hole Devouring a Star
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2023 Apr 28

The event was spotted in infrared data — also a first — suggesting further searches in this band could turn up more such bursts.

Once every 10,000 years or so, the center of a galaxy lights up as its supermassive black hole rips apart a passing star. This “tidal disruption event” happens in a literal flash, as the central black hole pulls in stellar material and blasts out huge amounts of radiation in the process.

Astronomers know of around 100 tidal disruption events (TDE) in distant galaxies, based on the burst of light that arrives at telescopes on Earth and in space. Most of this light comes from X-rays and optical radiation.

MIT astronomers, tuning past the conventional X-ray and UV/optical bands, have discovered a new tidal disruption event, shining brightly in infrared. It is one of the first times scientists have directly identified a TDE at infrared wavelengths.

What’s more, the new outburst happens to be the closest tidal disruption event observed to date: The flare was found in NGC 7392, a galaxy that is about 137 million light-years from Earth, which corresponds to a region in our cosmic backyard that is one-fourth the size of the next-closest TDE. ...

The new study suggests that conventional X-ray and optical surveys may have missed TDEs in star-forming galaxies because these galaxies naturally produce more dust that could obscure any light coming from their core. Searching in the infrared band could reveal many more, previously hidden TDEs in active, star-forming galaxies. ...

A Black Hole Tore a Star to Pieces. The Closest We’ve Ever Seen.
Universe Today | 2023 Apr 30

A Luminous Dust-Obscured Tidal Disruption Event
Candidate in a Star-Forming Galaxy at 42 Mpc
~ Christos Panagiotou et al
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