A black hole ‘assassin’ ripped a star to shreds and left its guts strewn about the galaxy

In a way, stars are like doughnuts: You have to rip them apart to see what’s inside. Luckily for astronomers, sometimes the cosmos does just that — when a black hole shreds a star that passes by too closely in a violent spectacle called a tidal disruption event (TDE). (The phenomenon is more whimsically known as “spaghettification”).

In new research published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, astronomers used a TDE to precisely measure the amounts of certain elements — namely, nitrogen and carbon — around a black hole to infer that a huge star three times bigger than the sun was destroyed there. This is the opposite problem of guessing the doughnut’s filling; instead, you see a smear of raspberry and powdered sugar and infer what came before the chaos.

Source link: https://www.livescience.com/space/black-holes/a-black-hole-assassin-ripped-a-star-to-shreds-and-left-its-guts-strewn-about-the-galaxy by at www.livescience.com