Black holes present a surge of complex scientific questions, particularly about its power and extent of strength. Although experts believed that black holes possess strong cosmic forces, actual presentation of its might in the face of a star with equal strength had not been observed.
For the first time ever, astronomers were able to witness a supermassive black hole swallowing a star that is as huge as the Sun.
International researchers were able to monitor the event. They saw how the enormous star deviated from its conventional course, got caught in the extreme gravitational pull of the supermassive black hole and swallowed wholly.
The star was disintegrated and created a disk of debris around the black hole prior to its total disappearance into the horizon. The resulting pieces were sent across space at a rate near the speed of light by strong magnetic fields, creating plasma jets.
"These events are extremely rare," said lead researcher Sjoert van Velzen from Johns Hopkins University. He added that this is the first time that scientists were able to witness the entire action from the destruction of the star to the launch of the jets.
The flowing interruption of a star caused by a supermassive black hole results in the quick emergence of thermal stellar tidal disruption flares (TDFs). While this is strongly believed, astronomers have never observed such event as per radio follow-up monitoring.
Gemma Anderson, study co-author and an astrophysicist from Curtin University explained that they have witnessed objects such as giant gas clouds getting caught up in black holes and generating jets however, this process can take millions of years to complete.
"Now we've finally found one in a more normal event," she said.
In December 2014, stellar destruction was first reported by a group of researchers from Ohio State University. They used an optical telescope installed in Hawaii and announced their discovery on Twitter.
When van Velzen heard about this event, he collaborated with University of Oxford experts led by Rob Fender to further investigate. For their experiment, they used radio telescopes to catch the action and fortunately, they were just in time.
The study was published in the journal Science on Thursday, Nov. 26.