thomst writes: "Charles Choi of Space.com reports on an article in the August 24 Nature (abstract and editor's summary here, full article behind Nature's paywall) on data from the Swift satellite telescope that allowed astrophysicists David Burrows and Davide Lazzati to observe a supermassive black hole emit a relativistic jet of energy (moving at 99.5% of lightspeed) characteristic of a star (which has been dubbed Swift J1644+57) being torn apart as it falls into the black hole's accretion disk. The most interesting thing about this event (which was also observed by radio telescopes around the world) is that it was captured from the very beginning of the process of emitting the jet which signaled Swift J1644+57's demise. A different group of astrophysicists, led by Ashley Zauderer, submitted a letter about their own study of the event, which was published in the same edition of Nature."
Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be
lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
- Isaac Asimov