Universe  ID: 12005

Massive Black Hole Shreds Passing Star

This artist’s rendering illustrates new findings about a star shredded by a black hole. When a star wanders too close to a black hole, intense tidal forces rip the star apart. In these events, called “tidal disruptions,” some of the stellar debris is flung outward at high speed while the rest falls toward the black hole. This causes a distinct X-ray flare that can last for a few years. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer, and ESA/NASA’s XMM-Newton collected different pieces of this astronomical puzzle in a tidal disruption event called ASASSN-14li, which was found in an optical search by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) in November 2014. The event occurred near a supermassive black hole estimated to weigh a few million times the mass of the sun in the center of PGC 043234, a galaxy that lies about 290 million light-years away. Astronomers hope to find more events like ASASSN-14li to test theoretical models about how black holes affect their environments.



For More Information



Brian Monroe (USRA): Lead Animator
Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Lead Producer
Francis Reddy (Syneren Technologies): Lead Writer
Jon Miller (University of Michigan): Lead Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, individual items should be credited as indicated above.

Short URL to share this page:


This item is part of these series:
Narrated Movies
Astrophysics Animations

SVS >> X-ray
SVS >> Black Hole
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Space
SVS >> Swift
SVS >> Star
NASA Science >> Universe