Skip to main content

Chandra Reveals a Black Hole Destroying a Star in a Dwarf Galaxy

We recently released a significant update to the backend systems for the AAVSO website. While most of the bugs introduced by this update have been fixed, there may still be problems we haven't fixed. If you run into a problem, please email webmaster@aavso.org

A bright, long duration flare may be the first recorded event of a black hole destroying a star in a dwarf galaxy. The evidence comes from two independent studies using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes.

As part of an ongoing search of Chandra’s archival data for events signaling the disruption of stars by massive black holes, astronomers found a prime candidate. Beginning in 1999, an unusually bright X-ray source had appeared in a dwarf galaxy and then faded until it was no longer detected after 2005.

“We can’t see the star being torn apart by the black hole,” Peter Maksym of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who led one of the studies, “but we can track what happens to the star’s remains, and compare it with other, similar events. This one fits the profile of ‘death by a black hole.’”

Read the story at SciTechDaily

AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 aavso@aavso.org 617-354-0484