How Could Stars Get Destroyed by Black Holes: New Study Shed Light

star process

If a star ends up too close to a black hole, we know what’s up next. The extreme tidal pulls destroy the star in a process known as TDEs (tidal disruption events), unleashing the last burst before the star’s debris gets lost in the space. The exact details of such an event have been a little harder to follow by astronomers. 

Theoretically, the debris could blend into a disc as it whirls and falls into the black hole. However, most of the tidal disruption shows no proof of the X-ray emission that can realize the presence of this accretion disc. 

Astronomers think that a stellar tidal disruption is too fast for an accretion disc to form. But a recent study has proved otherwise. Here is what you need to know. 

New Proof About Stars That Are Torn Apart by Black Holes 

A team of astronomers has used optical and ultraviolet observations of a TDE and discovered proof of the changing light expected for a swirling accretion disc. The disruption event in question happened in the center of a galaxy dubbed 2MASSJ10065085+0141342, 624 million light-years away. 

At the end of 2018, astronomers found the telltale flare showing the supermassive black hole therein was disturbing a star, and they started to examine the event. They observed many wavelengths as the light evolved. The TDE was dubbed AT 2018hyz.

Later, the team calculated that a supermassive black hole about several million times the Sun’s mass had disturbed the star. But, things weren’t that simpler. In the spectroscopic observations, a double peak, in what is defined as Balmer emission, was produced when electrons in hydrogen atoms transitioned to a lower energy level. The TDE identified was very different.

Also, the double peak of total Balmer emission in the active galactic nucleus is considered proof of an accretion disc. As AT 2018hyz continued to manifest over several months, astronomers went on further to take multi-wavelength observations. They also determined that the accretion disc was created of about 5 % of the star’s initial mass. 

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