Astronomers have witnessed the long process of “lunch” a huge black hole.
At a distance of almost two billion light years from Earth, a supermassive black hole was involved in a very slow “ingestion” one of the nearby stars.
By itself, this process is very interesting from a scientific point of view, and astronomers in this case had plenty of time to examine everything that happened. Light “show” accompanied the process of absorption of a star by a black hole, lasted about 10 years and this is the longest “death” of stars in the abyss of a black hole, among all the famous scientists today.
Such astronomical phenomena occur when an astronomical object like a star or gas cloud, pass in space near the black hole and fall into the “network” of its gravity. Under the influence of gravity star is usually destroyed, and as a result accompanying all this massive explosion of part of the matter manage to escape from the gravitational trap, and the remaining part is “absorbed” by the black hole. When matter begins to approach the event horizon of a black hole, it heats up to enormous temperatures and emits x-rays that recorded by ground and space instruments.
All of the above happened in the area of the black hole XJ1500+0154, located in the center of the galaxy, remote from Earth at 1.8 billion light years. The first x-ray flare from this region of space was registered on 23 July 2005 using x-ray space telescope XMM-Newton. Interesting is the fact that two months earlier, this area of the sky viewed by the Chandra x-ray Observatory, which failed to see anything unusual.
Since the first outbreaks of the black hole XJ1500+0154 started to see the telescopes Chandra, XMM-Newton and Swift, which started to register a bright x-ray flash, the intensity of which changed more than 100 times, reaching a maximum at 5 June 2008.
The case of absorption of a star by a black hole XJ1500+0154 distracting from the overall series, not only for its duration. Several times was was flash, the brightness of which was above the maximum limit, which is determined by a corresponding mathematical models that calculated the balance amount of radiated into space energy and the impact on matter of the black hole’s gravity. It speaks or about that that the star is absorbed by the black hole is extremely dense, or that astronomers were able to witness some brand new processes.
Black hole XJ1500+0154 remains visible in x-rays and today. But astronomers say that the brightness of its glow will come down almost to nothing over the next few years, which will require the black hole to absorb the remaining crumbs of matter from the surrounding space.
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