A supermassive black hole swallowed a star, tearing it apart and expelling a unique beam of light from its center.
in Scientific research report Published on Wednesday, astronomers said a previously unknown black hole became known to observers when a star passed very close and devoured it.
Astronomers then observed a downstream stream of “afterglow” from the cataclysm, which experts call a tidal disturbance event (TDE), heading straight for toward the ground.
“The event began when an ominous star approached a supermassive black hole (SMBH) on a near-parabolic trajectory and was torn apart into a stream of gaseous debris,” reads the paper, which was published November 30. About half of the mass remained bound to the black hole, underwent general relativistic induction as the gas fell back toward the center, and then produced powerful shocks at the point of self-crossing.”
Scientists said the streaming beam — AT2022cmc, or “infrared/optical/ultraviolet light curve” — was initially red before decaying over four days and turning blue.
The astronomers added: “Optical and ultraviolet observations revealed a rapidly fading red ‘glow’ that rapidly transitioned to a slow blue ‘plateau’, enabling the study of two components resulting from tidal disruption: the relativistic jet and the thermal component of the tethered stellar debris accumulating on the black hole.” .
The explosive remnant was so bright that astronomers detected TDE from dwarf galaxy A million light years away.
“Observations of a bright isotope at other wavelengths, including X-rays, small millimeters and radio, support the interpretation of AT2022cmc as a flowing TDE containing a synchrotron,” the paper added.
TDE was discovered in February 2022, before Science News received the paper about it in April 2022, and the paper was finally accepted in October 2022.
TDEs have been observed before, such as AT 2020neh in June 2020.
This initial discovery will lead the way for astronomers to find new TDEs and dwarf galaxies, said Ryan J. Foley, co-author and astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“This discovery has generated widespread excitement because we can use tidal disturbance events not only to find more mesomass black holes in quiescent dwarf galaxies but also to measure their masses.”
The discovery spans years of research as the distant galaxy was first observed in June 2020, and was confirmed by data from the Small Supernova Experiment. Observed again from July 1, 2020, to July 17, 2020; Then from August 5, 2020 to September 6, 2020.
“Over the course of 24 months of YSE operations, we observed only one event resembling AT 2020neh, observing the fields for about 6 months each. This equates to one event per year within the size of the YSE observing,” the scientific paper reads.
These unique discoveries could lead to more discoveries in distant galaxies that would otherwise be undetectable without the visible light from the explosion.
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