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Lucky Star Escapes Black Hole, Losing Jupiter-Sized Chunk

black hole

Image credit: Artist concept of matter swirling around a black hole / NASA/Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital

As the closest near-miss event was observed near the Milky Way, one fortunate star did escape a supermassive black hole without obvious damage. As a result, a Jupiter-sized bite was taken out of this nearby star by such black hole, however it was lucky enough not to be wholly swallowed as it was now.

The these supermassive black holes had magnificent gravity, residing at the center of all big galaxies, could be able to tear up entire stars as well as any other objects getting close to it. As a star was shredded by the tidal forces of black hole, a bright flare of light would be sent out. Known as the tidal disruption event, it would be thought to happen once every 10,000 to 100,000 years.

This go-away star was found in a galaxy outside of the Laniakea Supercluster, where the Milky Way was located, and it was nearly 650 million light years away from Ursa Major. If Laniakea could be considered as our hometown in galaxy, so this event would occur in our big urban area.

As Krzysztof Stanek from OhioState said, there was just one local neighborhood, like reading the local newspaper could help one know better of what his neighbors were doing

Although Krzysztof Stanek’s team did not actually see the star themselves, instead, by application of four 15-centimeter telescopes of the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) in Hawaii, they successfully observed the flaring light when as some of the star’s material was captured by the black hole. Such tidal disruption event spotted most closely so far was first flared to brightness on January 25 in 2014 between the stars of Alula Borealis and Praecipua. In their following observations with help of several ground and space-based telescopes, Krzysztof Stanek and his colleagues eventually placed the object within its host galaxy and they named it as SDSS J110840.11.

In accordance with the amount of energy dispatched, the scientists calculated that a quite small amount of stellar material, which was one thousandth of the mass of the sun, had been sucked into the black hole. Such amount was similarly equal to the mass of Jupiter.

At present, scientists were able to spot small number of tidal disruption events. Black holes did not appear to consume whole stars frequently, but what about just breaking off a piece like this one?

According to Christopher Kochanek from OhioState, what they were not certain about there was some difference between the chances of a black hole partly shredding a star and those of it completely shredding a star. One of aims set by ASAS-SN’s goals was to identify how often tidal disruption events would occur in the nearby universe.

The current findings would be released in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Source:The Ohio State University