What University of Warwick researchers think the star may have looked like at the start of its disruption by a black hole at the center of a galaxy 3.8 billion light years distant resulting in the outburst known as Sw 1644+57.  Credit: University of Warwick / Mark A. Garlick

Black Hole Devours Star and Hurls Energy Across 3.8 Billion Light Years

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

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Engaging the Hubble Space Telescope, Swift satellite and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers at the University of Warwick were quick to pick up a signal from Swift’s Burst Alert Telescope on March 28, 2011. In a classic line from Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson says: “It’s a UFO beaming back at you.” But this time it isn’t a UFO… it’s the death scream of a star being consumed by a black hole. The alert was just the beginning of a series of x-ray blasts that turned out to be the largest and most luminous event so far recorded in a distant galaxy.

Originating 3.8 billion light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation of Draco, the beam consisting of high energy X-rays and gamma-rays remained brilliant for a period of weeks after the initial event. As more and more material from the doomed star crossed over the event horizon, bright flares erupted signaling its demise. Says Dr. Andrew Levan, lead researcher on the paper from the University of Warwick; “Despite the power of this the cataclysmic event we still only happen to see this event because our solar system happened to be looking right down the barrel of this jet of energy”.

Dr Andrew Levan is a researcher at the University of Warwick.

Dr. Levan’s findings were published today in the Journal Science in a paper entitled “An Extremely Luminous Panchromatic Outburst from the Nucleus of a Distant Galaxy”. His findings leave no doubt as to the origin of the event and it has been cataloged as Sw 1644+57.

“The only explanation that so far fits the size, intensity, time scale, and level of fluctuation of the observed event, is that a massive black at the very centre of that galaxy has pulled in a large star and ripped it apart by tidal disruption.” says Levan. “The spinning black hole then created the two jets one of which pointed straight to Earth.”

And straight into our eager eyes…

Original Story Source: Eurekalert.


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NewCastle Man
Guest
NewCastle Man
June 17, 2011 11:35 AM

and we’re still here?

envisioner
Member
envisioner
June 17, 2011 11:03 PM

yeah, it was only x-rays and we’ve got a sort of shield surrounding our solar system, from what I understand.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 17, 2011 12:42 PM

One Panchromatic Gargle Blaster, served up!

Horacio Luna
Guest
Horacio Luna
June 17, 2011 2:41 PM

so at this very moment in that place the star doenst exists anymore, right?

A Luebeck
Guest
A Luebeck
June 17, 2011 4:17 PM

It hasn’t existed for 3.8 billion years, to be precise.

Pawe? Zuzelski
Guest
Pawe? Zuzelski
June 18, 2011 8:51 PM

1. There is no such thing as “this very moment” on the large scale.
2. On the large scale, due to expansion of space, “it happend X light years away” is not equivalent to “the light was traveling X light years” nor to “it happened X years ago”. There is an interesting article on that: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/05/how_far_away_is_the_farthest_g.php

Mary Lisa
Guest
June 17, 2011 2:49 PM

here is special news for you guys… http://tinyurl.com/hotnewz2011

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Guest
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Joe Cazana
Guest
June 18, 2011 8:38 PM

I think black holes should be renamed cosmic toilet bowls

Joe Cazana
Guest
June 18, 2011 8:39 PM

and you know how a toilet bowl runs sometimes when it gets stuck

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