Saturday, 24 October 2020, 03:15:40 am
Black hole kills star by 'spaghettification' as telescopes watch
October 14, 2020

Telescopes have captured the rare light flash from a dying star as it was ripped apart by a supermassive black hole.

This rarely seen "tidal disruption event" which creates spaghettification in stars as they stretch and stretch is the closest such known event to happen, at only 215 million light-years from Earth.

One light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

According to a new study the idea of a black hole 'sucking in' a nearby star sounds like science fiction. But this is exactly what happens in a tidal disruption event.

When an unlucky star wanders too close to a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy, the extreme gravitational pull of the black hole shreds the star into thin streams of material.

Researchers caught the event in action using numerous telescopes, including ESO's Very Large Telescope and New Technology Telescope.

It has been difficult to see these events in the past because the black hole eating up the star has a tendency to shoot out material from the dying star, such as dust.