NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured the moment a supermassive black hole devoured a star — quite the cosmic show. The unlucky star, which was nearly 300 million light years away from Earth, got close enough to the black hole to fall victim to its hungry, gravitational pull. The rarely observed process is called a tidal disruption event (TDE), and scientists can see it thanks to the mass radiation released as a star is devoured.
This happens in the form of UV light, which forms a giant flaring circle around the black hole. Astronomers have captured around 100 TDEs using telescopes including the Hubble. Thanks to its strong UV sensitivity, this is the first time a tidal disruption has been observed in UV light and not X-ray, so scientists are hoping it will help them learn more about the terrifying spectacle.
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