ananyo writes "Astronomers think they have seen the flare of a dying star being eviscerated by a black hole. The signal, spotted by three different satellites, could shed light on the relationship between the smaller black holes seen in our own galaxy and the supermassive ones in distant reaches of the Universe. The stellar victim was first seen in 2011 by Swift, a NASA satellite designed to spot bursts of high-energy photons known as gamma-rays. For more than a month, Swift watched a signal from a distant galaxy, which eventually faded from view. Subsequent analysis showed that the gamma-rays probably came from a star being ripped to pieces by a previously unknown black hole (abstract)."