Universe  ID: 11149

Galactic Snacks

Even black holes grab a meal now and then, feeding on everything from planets and asteroids to comets and gas. The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy has a relatively small appetite. Nevertheless, scientists using NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) orbiting observatory caught our galaxy's central black hole in the act of devouring a snack. In July 2012, detection of a high-energy X-ray flare indicated that something—possibly an asteroid—was being torn apart and ingested at a temperature of about 100 million degrees Celsius. Watch the video to see the flare, and to find out how NuSTAR's crisp vision is improving our understanding of the high-energy phenomena and the diet of black holes.

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Story Credits

Lead Writer:
Kathryn Hansen (Wyle Information Systems)

Please give credit for this item to:
Science@NASA and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Tour of Sagittarius A* animation courtesy of NASA/CXC/A. Hobart
Milky Way Galaxy illustration courtesy of NASA JPL
High-energy X-ray time series of the black hole courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
NuSTAR's first view of high-energy X-Ray Universe courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
Artist's concept of NuSTAR orbiting Earth courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

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