The gravity of a star being swallowed by a black hole

August 25, 2011 by  

For the first time, a black hole has been caught in the act of tearing apart and swallowing a star that got too close.

Scientists, who until now had witnessed only the aftermath of such events, say the observation is shedding light on “relativistic jets,” bursts of matter that shoot out at nearly the speed of light.

At the centers of virtually all large galaxies are supermassive black holes. These monsters, which are millions to billions of times the mass of the sun, can rip apart passers-by, gravitationally pulling at stars in gigantic versions of how our moon tugs on Earth’s oceans to generate tides.

Incredible stuff.

–WKW

Comments

One Response to “The gravity of a star being swallowed by a black hole”

  1. Michael on August 26th, 2011 6:55 am

    Tides come in, tides go out, never a miscommunication. Apologies to Billo.

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