Watch a Star Get Devoured by a Supermassive Black Hole

Like­ly, in a moment of qui­et down­time, you’ve won­dered: Just what would hap­pen if a star, burn­ing bright in the sky, wan­dered by a black hole? What would that meet­ing look like? What kinds of cos­mic things would go down?

Now, thanks to an artis­tic ren­der­ing made avail­able by NASA, you don’t have to leave much to imag­i­na­tion. Above, watch a star stray a lit­tle too close to a black hole and get shred­ded apart by “tidal dis­rup­tions,” caus­ing some stel­lar debris to get “flung out­ward at high speed while the rest falls toward the black hole.”

This ren­der­ing isn’t the­o­ret­i­cal. It’s based on obser­va­tions gleaned from “an opti­cal search by the All-Sky Auto­mat­ed Sur­vey for Super­novae (ASAS-SN) in Novem­ber 2014.” The “tidal dis­rup­tions” wit­nessed above, writes NASA, “occurred near a super­mas­sive black hole esti­mat­ed to weigh a few mil­lion times the mass of the sun in the cen­ter of PGC 043234, a galaxy that lies about 290 mil­lion light-years away.” It’s a sight to behold.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Comments (7)
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  • Nusha says:

    I liked the report because I love sci­ence a lot ❤

  • Chris says:

    Got­ta love it when the tech­nol­o­gy used to view a black holes effects and pat­terns is called assas­sin.

  • Ben says:

    So we did­n’t actu­al­ly see any­thing. Just an ani­ma­tion. Bunch of crap, show me the real thing.

  • Faye says:

    The mere exis­tence and appre­ci­a­tion of beau­ty should chal­lenge the roots and foun­da­tion of athe­ism.

  • Vijay Pradhan says:

    A real­i­ty which can­not be dreamed to see or brought to us.

  • TNB says:

    Respectfully,the awe­some­ness of such occur­rences chal­lenges the roots and foun­da­tion of all orga­nized reli­gion. If God exists, all orga­nized faiths have com­plete­ly mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed the truth. Sci­ence is clos­est to true faith in that it nev­er pre­sumes to know the full truth. It is open and accept­ing of change.

  • Zaza says:


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.