News24

Black hole captured ripping star apart

2011-08-25 09:28

Paris - A black hole described as a "cosmic monster" lurking at the heart of a galaxy has been recorded as it tore apart a luckless star, astronomers reported.

On March 25, Nasa's Swift orbital telescope captured a surge of X-rays from deep space, disgorged by what was clearly an immensely powerful source.

Closer observation revealed a "supermassive" black hole with a mass a million times that of the Sun and was reported in Nature on Wednesday.

The X-ray flare was a "relativistic outflow", or a jet of high-energy matter that flowed from the star as it was pulled apart by the black hole's gravitational pull and hauled toward its maw.

The jet, called Swift J164449.3+573451, moved at 99.5% of the speed of light.

"Supermassive" black holes are commonly found at the centre of galaxies. The newly discovered black hole is about the size of its counterpart in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Even so, they are relative tiddlers, for some "supermassive" specimens have been measured at a mass of more than a billion Suns.

Comments
  • HappyGoLucky - 2011-08-25 10:11

    sooooooooooo...ummmmm...where is the footage....???

      geefats - 2011-08-25 10:13

      lol exactly

      fotre - 2011-08-25 10:22

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7361/full/476405a.html

      Rudi van der Walt - 2011-08-25 10:24

      Hold on, i'll quickly upload it to youtube (my Samsung Galaxy S2's camera is THAT awesome :P

      HappyGoLucky - 2011-08-25 14:47

      aaaaaah...the reason why there is no footage http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/16/scitech/main20071683.shtml

      Bontage - 2011-08-25 14:50

      The zoom function and night-setting must be INCREDIBLE.

  • Felix - 2011-08-25 10:22

    And people think they are important. LMAO.

  • trevb - 2011-08-25 10:50

    i hope ignorance is bliss< that would mean most the planet is in heaven the rest of us born with a questioning brain live in hell having to listen to the crap spewed out by the rest of you

  • Sisie - 2011-08-25 11:17

    Pictures! Don't talk it to death, just put in the pictures.

  • Rightbydan - 2011-08-25 14:10

    Reminds me of how our overlords are ripping into our pockets. Except in their case, the result is lots of bling.

  • Gary - 2011-08-25 14:21

    Its data and X ray images, not a friggin youtube clip.

  • pitbull - 2011-08-26 07:37

    Everything in spaces is new to this fragile little population of two legged viruses living on this grain of sand at the edge of a large drainhole.

  • pitbull - 2011-08-26 08:00

    Everything in spaces is new to this fragile little population of two legged viruses living on this grain of sand at the edge of a large drainhole.

  • Spookhuis - 2011-08-26 08:03

    When I saw the head line I thought, oh boy what has the youth legless got to say about Ard now.......

  • adriandt1 - 2011-12-07 09:01

    Not sure how a hole can have mass unless it is being filled, and what happens when full ?

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