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Supermassive black hole destroying star, illustration

Supermassive black hole destroying star, illustration

C038/9802

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Credit

NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Supermassive black hole destroying star, illustration. Located at the centre of a galaxy, this supermassive black hole (upper right) is shown destroying and absorbing a star. The star is shown intact at top left. As it gets too close to the intense gravitational pull of the black hole, it is first stretched (lower left) and then torn apart (lower right) by tidal forces. The resulting cloud of stellar material forms an accretion ring around the black hole (upper right). This ring heats up (white) and produces electromagnetic radiation, including ultraviolet rays, before merging with the black hole. This event was observed in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. Image published in 2006.

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