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Aug 24, 2011

What a Black Hole Devouring a Star Looks Like

Back in late March, NASA's Swift satellite detected a strange and unusual energy explosion in the constellation Draco. NASA now knows what it was: "the awakening of a distant galaxy's dormant black hole as it shredded and consumed a star."

This simulation shows how it works:

As a star falls toward a black hole, it is ripped apart by intense tides. The gas is corralled into a disk that swirls around the black hole and becomes rapidly heated to temperatures of millions of degrees.
The innermost gas in the disk spirals toward the black hole, where rapid motion and magnetism creates dual, oppositely directed "funnels" through which some particles may escape. Particle jets driving matter at velocities greater than 80-90 percent the speed of light form along the black hole's spin axis. In the case of Swift J1644+57, one of these jets happened to point straight at Earth.
According to the researchers, the black hole may be "twice the mass of the four-million-solar-mass black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy".
 
 

9 comments:

MUFCfollowers said...

Excellent post, thanks for sharing.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Science! Awesome.

FabFawk said...

Love science!
Fun fact: Matter, anti-matter and energy is spontaneously CREATED at the borders of black holes! Nanoseconds later they collapse and are once again gone. Can't really say much more than string-theory being behind it..

Zombie said...

makes ya feel so small and insignificant... lol.

my day in a sentence said...

Sweet! :)

Guy Movie Blogger said...

Awesome, I'm glad my tax dollars are going towards science.

Sylar said...

this is very interesting :D
science amazing :D

Dieguii said...

I love science , but this kind of things, scare me

eudaimoniac said...

Very cool! Boggles the mind.