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This Recently Discovered Massive Black Hole Has Stunned Astronomers

Astrophysicists have detected a massive black hole that is so voracious that it has been consuming on a star for more than a decade now. This is something big and weird for astrophysicists because it is 10 times larger than any astronomical meal ever detected. A feast that long is beyond our present knowledge. Scientists aren't pretty sure how it's been sustained without disobeying the laws of physics. It’s like a riddle now and cracking it would tell us how black holes in the beginning of Cosmos got more massive than we have been able to explain.

 Image Credit: NASA/CXC/UNH/D.Lin/M.Weiss



Each time a star comes too close to a black hole, the black hole's dominant gravitational force can tear the star apart. This is known as the Tidal Disruption Event(TDE). Astrophysicists have detected many TDE’s in the past by observing specific X-ray flare they produce. Mostly TDEs are very short-term events, which is why the recent observations are so shocking.

Lead researcher Dacheng Lin from New Hampshire University in Durham said:

"We have witnessed a star's remarkable and continued death. Several tidal disruption events have been detected since the 90s, but none of them persisted bright for as long as this one".

In fact, that meal has been going on for so long that it has pushed the limitations of physics - the star being eaten has outdone something called the Eddingtonlimit, which is the maximum glow a star can reach before it is no longer stable.

The theory is that if a star is emitting sufficient radiations to get this bright, then gravity should barely be able to hold it together. And for that reason, we have never really been able to understand how supermassive black holes at the center of many galaxies, counting our Milky Way, grew as big as they are now.

This massive hungry black hole is nicknamed XJ1500+0154 and exists at the center of a small galaxy nearly 1.8 billion light-years away.

It was detected by a trio of satellites - NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory and Swift satellite and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton.


You can read the full paper here.

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