A star being “squeezed like a toothpaste tube” by a supermassive black hole has produced a mysteriously brilliant flash that emitted more light than 1,000 TRILLION suns, according to research.
A mysteriously brilliant flash in the sky was caused by a supermassive black hole “squeezing” a distant star like a toothpaste tube, according to research.
When astronomers at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California spotted a flash in February that produced more light than a trillion suns, they were stunned.
A tidal disruption event (TDE), in which a star gets a little too close to a black hole and is ripped apart by its gravitational pull, is now the cause of the light, the research team says.
It is the brightest TDE ever seen from Earth and has been described as one of the most violent events in the cosmos, with temperatures exceeding 30,000°C (54,000°F).
The event, AT2022cmc, was the most distant TDE ever discovered, occurring more than eight billion light-years away, or more than halfway across the universe.
Its data collection could provide new insights into the growth and nutritional needs of supermassive black holes.
A “jetted TDE,” or flash of light, was first seen during a regular all-sky scan and was later determined to be the source of the flash.
After the star was obliterated, a stream of material extending along the spin axis of the black hole was shot out at nearly the speed of light.
The X-ray energy released was absorbed by the dust surrounding the black hole and then re-emitted as infrared radiation, radio waves, and visible light.
Despite being so far away, the jet’s remarkable brightness and orientation toward Earth allowed instruments around the world to capture it in incredible detail.
These included the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and the Liverpool Telescope in Spain.
We have only seen a small number of these jetted TDE’s and they remain highly exotic and poorly understood phenomena,” said Nial Tanvir of the University of Leicester, who worked on the research.
After the star was annihilated, a stream of matter extending along the spin axis of the black hole shot out of it at nearly the speed of light. This produced X-rays that were absorbed by the dust surrounding the black hole and then re-emitted as infrared radiation, radio waves and visible light.
A co-author from Liverpool John Moores University, Dr. Daniel Perley, called AT2022cmc a type of TDE that is “extraordinary” and “does not seem to fit any known type of celestial source.
Most explosions are either much faster, much slower, or much bluer than statistics would suggest, he said.
The star is often torn apart by strong gravitational forces, becoming a superheated disk of gas that eventually disappears into the black hole.
But in this case, something happened that ejected matter back into space almost as fast as light.
We compare it to a tube of toothpaste that has been unexpectedly squeezed in the middle, causing the toothpaste to come out of both ends.
The powerful optical, radio, and X-ray emission is then produced as the material interacts with the surrounding atmosphere.
According to co-author and MIT astronomer Dr. Dheeraj Pasham, the study team was able to “capture this event at the very beginning, within a week of the black hole starting to feed on the star.
It was also the first time an optically detectable jetting TDE has been made.
“Until now, the few known jetted TDE’s were originally discovered using high-energy gamma-ray and X-ray observatories,” said Dr. Perley.
When AT2022cmc was first discovered, scientists used the NICER (New Instrument for Compositional Research) X-ray telescope on the International Space Station to study it.
They discovered that the source of the radiation was 100 times more powerful than the most powerful ever identified.
As brilliant as they are, falling stars can only produce so much light, according to Dr. Benjamin Gompertz of the University of Birmingham, who led the research.
“We realized that something really gigantic must be powering AT 2022cmc, since it was so brilliant and lasted so long – a supermassive black hole,” the author said.
His team concluded that the destruction of the star caused a vortex of material to fall into the black hole, causing the intense X-ray activity.
According to Dr. Pasham, it is likely devouring the star at a rate of half the mass of the Sun per year.
The results of the study of AT2022cmc were published today in two journals, Nature and Nature Astronomy.
It has been well over a decade since a TDE has flown, and scientists are still puzzled as to why some TDEs fly and others do not.
The speed at which the star’s material spins around the black hole as it is consumed is thought to have something to do with it, and a particularly fast spin could be driving the brilliant jets.
Astronomers believe they may be able to see more TDEs and find some answers as more powerful telescopes are deployed.
We expect to see many more of these TDEs in the future,” said co-author and MIT professor Dr. Matteo Lucchini.
Then we may finally be able to explain how black holes produce these very powerful jets.
‘October Surprise’: Russia To Launch Nukes in Space
The ‘national security threat’ announced on Wednesday is
about Russia planning to launch nuclear weapons in space, causing some
to speculate whether it’s really an election year ploy.
The panic began when House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner
(R-Ohio) asked President Biden to declassify information about a
“serious national security threat”.
Modernity.news reports: The weapon would reportedly be designed to be used to take out satellites.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) responded by telling reporters he wanted “to assure the American people, there is no need for public alarm.”
The big, scary threat is serious business and involves a space-based nuke controlled by evil dictator Putin, but it’s also “not an immediate crisis,” according to what three members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have told Politico.
Okay, then. Just for election season, is it?
Zero Hedge reports: “So, the question is – was this:
a) a distraction from Biden’s broken brain, or
2) a last desperate attempt to get more funding for anything-but-the-US-border, or
iii) a path to pitching Putin as the uber-bad-guy again after his interview with Tucker Carlson.”
Just by coincidence, Mike Turner recently returned from Ukraine having lobbied for billions more in weapons and aid for Zelensky’s government.
Some questioned the timing, suggesting it might all be a deep state plot to keep American voters afraid when they hit the ballot box.
Speculation will now rage as to whether this is “the event,” real or imagined, that billionaires and elitists the world over have been building underground survival bunkers in preparation for.
Earth has built-in protection from asteroids
Asteroids are not just wandering space rocks, but a potential threat
to Earth. But what if the Earth already has its own built-in defenses
against them? Recent research published on the preprint server arXiv puts forward an unusual theory: Earth’s gravitational forces may serve as its secret shield against asteroids.
planet uses powerful gravitational interactions with other celestial
bodies to break apart asteroids that approach it. These tidal forces,
akin to those that explain Earth’s tides caused by the Moon, can be so
intense that objects undergo tidal disruption, causing them to be torn
Observations of fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 after
its collision with Jupiter in 1994 provided the first confirmation of
this phenomenon. However, for decades astronomers have been looking for
evidence that Earth or other terrestrial planets could have a similar
effect on asteroids and comets.
Planetary scientist Mikael Granvik
from the Swedish University of Technology, Luleå, led the research that
came closer to solving the above phenomenon.
discovery is linked to the search for gravitationally disrupted
near-Earth asteroids (NEAS), and provides compelling evidence that our
planet’s gravitational forces are not just an abstract concept, but a
factor capable of breaking asteroids into small pieces.
modeling of asteroid trajectories, Grunwick and colleague Kevin Walsh of
the Southwest Research Institute found that collisions with rocky
planets can cause asteroids to lose a significant portion of their mass,
turning them into debris streams.
New data shows that small
asteroid fragments, while not posing a threat to life on the planet, may
nevertheless increase the likelihood of local collisions like those
that occurred in Tunguska and Chelyabinsk.
Granwick assures that
asteroids smaller than 1 km in diameter are not a critical threat, but
increase the likelihood of incidents. However, it is worth remembering
the additional risks that may arise due to the formation of new debris
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