Never before in human history has a star as massive as the one destroyed by the ASASSN-14li event been swallowed by a black hole. Such events emit powerful, bright X-rays.

Supernovae are perhaps one of the most well-known phenomena in the life cycle of stars: they occur when a star more massive than the mass of the Sun is destroyed in a final explosion. However, there are some celestial bodies that are not worth running out of fuel for, because they are encountering a black hole. If the two objects get too close together, the black hole’s gravity will start sucking in the star’s matter, eventually consuming it all. This is called a tidal disturbance event (TDE).

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When a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy consumes a star, the process releases so much energy that it often outgrows the galaxy itself. Such events emit powerful, bright X-rays that scientists can detect using high-powered telescopes.

Researchers from the University of Michigan, in collaboration with NASA scientists, detected an event in which a supermassive black hole swallowed a giant star. Study on this topic Astrophysical Journal Letters It was published in the latest issue of the scientific journal

Traces of the ASASSN-14li event were discovered in 2014, which occurred 290 million light-years away. This is the closest TDE experts have yet recorded, giving a unique opportunity to study such an event more closely.

The researchers discovered the presence of carbon and nitrogen around the black hole, which may have previously been part of the star’s core. From their presence, it was also possible to calculate that the star is about three times the mass of the Sun. This made it the largest celestial body ever swallowed by a black hole.

But recently, another group of astronomers made a surprising discovery. They found the remains of a massive star 14 times the size of the Sun, which was also being torn apart by a black hole. However, it hasn’t really been proven to be TDE, so their results are still awaiting confirmation.

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