NASA captures a star’s explosive encounter with a black hole
Today’s Video of the Day from NASA’s Goddard Space Center features a tidal disruption event that has been observed by scientists in unprecedented detail.
This phenomenon occurs when a star moves too close to a black hole, where extreme gravity causes the star to rip apart into a stream of gas.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has now documented one such event for the very first time, even capturing the earliest moments that the star was impacted.
“TESS data let us see exactly when this destructive event, named ASASSN-19bt, started to get brighter, which we’ve never been able to do before,” said Thomas Holoien, who is an expert at the Carnegie Observatories.
“Because we identified the tidal disruption quickly with the ground-based All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), we were able to trigger multiwavelength follow-up observations in the first few days. The early data will be incredibly helpful for modeling the physics of these outbursts.”
Video Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Center