Massive Black Hole Shreds Passing Star (Animation Only)

  • Released Wednesday, April 6, 2016
View full credits

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.

For complete transcript, click here.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, individual items should be credited as indicated above.

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:48 PM EDT.


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series: