This computer simulation shows a star being shredded by the gravity of a massive black hole. Some of the stellar debris falls into the black hole and some of it is ejected into space at high speeds. The areas in white are regions of highest density, with progressively redder colors corresponding to lower-density regions. The blue dot pinpoints the black hole's location. The elapsed time corresponds to the amount of time it takes for a sun-like star to be ripped apart by a black hole a million times more massive than the sun. (Credit: NASA; S. Gezari, The Johns Hopkins University; and J. Guillochon, University of California, Santa Cruz)
By measuring the increase in brightness, the astronomers calculated the black hole's mass to be several million suns, which is comparable to the size of our Milky Way's black hole.
Spectroscopic observations with the Multiple Meter Telescope Observatory on Mount Hopkins in Arizona showed the black hole was swallowing lots of helium. Spectroscopy divides light into its rainbow colors, which yields an object's characteristics, such as its temperature and gaseous makeup.
To completely rule out the possibility of an active nucleus flaring up in the galaxy, the team used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to study the hot gas. Chandra showed that the characteristics of the gas didn't match those from an active galactic nucleus.
By: horny devil
In: Science and Technology
Tags: black hole, space, science, astronomy, learnins
Location: United States (load item map)
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