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Black hole X-ray flares, illustration

Black hole X-ray flares, illustration

C038/9804

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Credit

NASA'S CONCEPTUAL IMAGE LAB / GSFC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA'S CONCEPTUAL IMAGE LAB / GSFC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Black hole X-ray flares, illustration. The glowing material and radiation around this massive black hole are the result of a star approaching too close. The star has been torn apart by tidal forces, and the stellar material has formed into a smooth, hot disk (centre) glowing brightly in X-rays. As the disk forms, its central region heats up tremendously, which drives a flow of material, called a wind (blue areas), away from the disk. Relativistic jets moving at high speeds are also produced. This X-ray flaring can last for a few years after a star is destroyed by a black hole. This illustration is based on the observations of tidal disruption event ASASSN-14li in 2014. The event occurred in galaxy PGC 043234, around 290 million light years from Earth, in the constellation of Coma Berenices. This image was published in 2015.

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