Scientists have determined that a burst of visible light that was directed at Earth directly came from a black hole.
No, this is not a scene from a science fiction movie. It was a thrilling finding since it was the first time that a black hole had used light, and it came from an area of space where no light had ever been seen before.
These results have been published in two scholarly journals: one is Nature, where the article is titled “A very luminous jet from the disruption of a star by a massive black hole,” and the other is Nature Astronomy, where the article is titled “The Birth of a Relativistic Jet Following the Disruption of a Star by a Cosmological Black Hole.”
According to reports, the light is equivalent to a trillion suns. Fair to say, it’s quite stunning.
When a star approached a black hole too closely, it was ripped apart, and the following explosion was visible throughout the cosmos.
A tidal disruption event is what this incident is called (TDE). One percent of the time, the black hole’s two sides emit radiation and plasma.
The light which reached Earth is believed to have started its journey when the universe was a third of its current age.
An unusual thing about this TDE was that it was so bright – primarily because of it being directed towards the Earth. This meant it was a more intense episode.
This TDE took place in February as scientists turned their telescopes – among the most advanced in the world – towards the source.
Astronomers are hoping this most recent activity can be studied in order to learn more about TDES, so they can be better understood.
Last month, astronomers were left scratching their heads after a supermassive black hole essentially ‘burped’ up a star that it had ‘eaten’ three years ago.
When a tiny star in a galaxy 665 million light years from Earth accidentally approached a black hole in 2018, scientists saw it shatter into a million pieces. At the time, this was not unusual.
However, in June 2021, the same black hole surprised astronomers by throwing forth star matter, taking them “totally by surprise.”
Experts found this to be particularly odd considering that the black hole hadn’t consumed anything new since its feast in 2018.
The lead author of a recent study that examined the phenomenon, Yvette Cendes, said, “This caught us completely by surprise — no one has ever seen anything like this before.”