A supermassive black hole swallowed a star, tore it apart and emitted a beam of light from its center in a unique way.
One scientific research report A previously unknown black hole became known to observers when a star passed too close and was eaten, astronomers published Wednesday said.
Astronomers then observed a stream of “afterglow” from the disaster, which experts call a tidal disruption event (TDE), heading straight ahead. Towards the ground.
“The event began when an ill-fated star approached a supermassive black hole (SMBH) on a nearly parabolic trajectory and disintegrated into a stream of gaseous debris,” says a scientific paper published in November. 30. “About half of the mass remained bound to the black hole, undergoing general-relativistic apsidal precession as the gas fell back toward the pericenter, and then produced strong shocks at its intersection.”
The rotating beam – AT2022cmc, or “infrared/optical/ultraviolet light curve” – was red before decaying to blue over four days, scientists said.
The astronomers added: “Optical and ultraviolet observations revealed a rapidly fading red ‘flare’ that rapidly transitioned to a slow blue ‘plateau’, allowing the study of two components of tidal disruption: the relativistic jet and the thermal component. star debris.”
The exploding debris was so bright that astronomers detected the TDE dwarf galaxy a million light years away.
The paper added: “Observations of a bright counterpart at other wavelengths, including X-ray, submillimeter and radio, support the interpretation of AT2022cmc as a jet TDE containing a synchrotron.”
TDE was discovered in February. The study was finally accepted in October 2022, before Science News received an article about it in April 2022.
TDEs have been observed before, such as AT 2020neh in June 2020.
Co-author and UC Santa Cruz astronomer Ryan J. Foley said this initial discovery could pave the way for astronomers to find other TDEs and new dwarf galaxies.
“This discovery caused widespread excitement because we can use tidal disruption events not only to find more intermediate masses. black holes in quiescent dwarf galaxies, but also to measure their masses,” Foley said in a scientific paper co-published Nov. 10.
The discovery took years of research, as the distant galaxy was first observed in June 2020 and confirmed by data from the Young Supernova Experiment. Re-observed from July 1, 2020 to July 17, 2020; then from August 5, 2020 to September 6, 2020.
“During 24 months of YSE operations, we observed only one AT 2020neh-like event, monitoring fields for about 6 months each. This is equivalent to one event per year within the YSE observational volume,” the scientific paper says.
These unique discoveries could lead to more discoveries in distant galaxies that would be undetectable without visible light from the explosion.