Massive Black Hole Shreds Passing Star (Animation Only)

  • Released Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:48PM
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A star approaching too close to a massive black hole is torn apart by tidal forces, as shown in this artist's rendering. Filaments containing much of the star's mass fall toward the black hole. Eventually these gaseous filaments merge into a smooth, hot disc glowing brightly in X-rays. As the disk forms, it's central region heats up tremendously, which drives a flow of material, called a wind, away from the disk.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, individual items should be credited as indicated above.


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