• search
For Quick Alerts
ALLOW NOTIFICATIONS  
For Daily Alerts

Gigantic black hole involved in stellar destruction

By Super Admin
|

Washington, January 5 (ANI): New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Magellan telescopes have suggested that a black hole, which is a thousand times as massive as the Sun, ripped apart a dense stellar remnant.

If confirmed, this discovery would be a cosmic double play, as it would be strong evidence for an intermediate mass black hole, which has been a hotly debated topic, and would mark the first time such a black hole has been caught tearing a star apart.

This scenario is based on Chandra observations, which revealed an unusually luminous source of X-rays in a dense cluster of old stars, and optical observations that showed a peculiar mix of elements associated with the X-ray emission.

Taken together, a case can be made that the X-ray emission is produced by debris from a disrupted white dwarf star that is heated as it falls towards a massive black hole.

Irwin and his colleagues obtained optical spectra of the object using the Magellan I and II telescopes in Las Campanas, Chile.

These data reveal emission from gas rich in oxygen and nitrogen but no hydrogen, a rare set of signals from globular clusters.

The physical conditions deduced from the spectra suggest that the gas is orbiting a black hole of at least 1,000 solar masses.

The abundant amount of oxygen and absence of hydrogen indicate that the destroyed star was a white dwarf, the end phase of a solar-type star that has burned its hydrogen leaving a high concentration of oxygen.

The nitrogen seen in the optical spectrum remains an enigma.

"We think these unusual signatures can be explained by a white dwarf that strayed too close to a black hole and was torn apart by the extreme tidal forces," said coauthor Joel Bregman of the University of Michigan.

Theoretical work suggests that the tidal disruption-induced X-ray emission could stay bright for more than a century, but it should fade with time. (ANI)

For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Enable
x
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Done
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more