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NASA Space Earth Science

A Supermassive Black Hole Has Been Devouring a Star For a Decade ( 69

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: A massive black hole devoured a star over a 10 year period, setting a new record for the longest space meal ever observed, according to new research. Researchers spotted the ravenous black hole with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Swift satellite as well as ESA's XMM-Newton, according to a statement from NASA. When objects like stars get too close to black holes, the intense gravity of the black hole can rip the star apart in what's called a tidal disruption event (TDE), according to NASA. While some of the debris from the star is flung forward, parts of it are pulled back and ingested by the black hole, where it heats up and emits an X-ray flare, NASA said in a statement. The tidal disruption event spotted by the trio of X-ray telescopes, is unlike anything researchers have ever seen, lasting ten times longer than any observed incident of star's death caused by a black hole, according to research published in Nature Astronomy Feb. 6. The black hole, dubbed XJ1500+0154, is located in a galaxy 1.8 billion light-years from Earth. Researchers first spotted it in 2005 and it reached peak brightness in 2008, according to the statement. According to NASA, researchers believe that the black hole may have consumed the most massive star ever completely torn apart during a TDE.
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A Supermassive Black Hole Has Been Devouring a Star For a Decade

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  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @03:43AM (#53824323)
    I would've expected to see intelligent commentary on how the observations were gathered and interpreted to increase our understanding of the cosmos. Now, it's all A/C's trolling, more than half with political agendas.

    "Zathras can never have anything nice."

    • The star must be Chinese, because the black hole is still hungry!

      Thank you, I'm here all week.
    • Well to be honest this story is kind of a snoozer for me. Like, it's already known for this sort of thing to be possible. The fact that it was actually observed hardly seems that interesting to me personally. But for those of you for whom this sort of thing is exciting, please do post, maybe your posts will be interesting to read.

      • Just to point out - there's a difference between theorizing something has or will occur and observing such an occurrence. Remember, even Albert Einstein didn't believe singularities existed despite the fact that his own Theory of Relativity predicted their existence.
  • by csmithers ( 675151 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @05:03AM (#53824485)
    For a decade, almost 2 billon years ago ... pretty heady stuff. I wonder what's happening now ?
  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @05:05AM (#53824489) Homepage
    The article and summary mention nothing about the real story here: What kind of shirt was the spokesman wearing when he made the announcement? We know from direct empirical evidence that this is more important than humanity landing on a comet, much less some black hole somewhere.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Great reference!! I remember that ;)

      Closeup of the shirt's pattern, sewn by his female artist friend for his birthday from sexy Bond girl pin-up fabric:,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1270427175111551266.jpg


  • ... as though millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror ... and were silenced over a ten year period ...
  • Stop playing with your food and eat it!
  • 30+ replies and no "Yo Mamma" jokes?

    It's almost like we're maturing. Almost.
  • I mean, could it actually Starkiller Base?

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray