A black hole “burps” stars after years of eating it

enormous Black hole He was observed belching a star devoured three years ago – leaving astronomers baffled by delayed intergalactic indigestion.

“This totally surprised us — no one had ever seen anything like this,” said Yvette Sendez, lead author of a new study analyzing the unprecedented phenomenon, He said.

In October 2018, astronomers witnessed a young star being torn to shreds and swallowed up when it wandered near a black hole in a galaxy located 665 million light-years from Earth, According to the study It was published last week in The Astrophysical Journal.

And the study found that the violent feast itself is not unusual, when, when a black hole began mysteriously vomiting stellar material in June 2021, scientists were left baffled – because there was no evidence that it had eaten another star.

“It’s as if this black hole has suddenly started burping a bunch of material from the star it ate years ago,” added Cendez, a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The long delay in ejecting the celestial matter had never been seen before and puzzled scientists.

Black holes are extraterrestrial regions where gravity has pulled matter into a small space with so much force that nothing can escape from it, including light.

They are usually formed from the remnants of the collapse of large dying stars, and can consume anything that gets very close, NASA explains.

The Center for Astrophysics explains that when a black hole devours a star, some of the celestial material that makes up the star is occasionally ejected into space, which astronomers liken to black holes being chaotic eaters.

But this process — which is the Cendes equivalent of “burping” after a meal — usually occurs immediately, rather than three years later, according to the study.

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Researchers rushed to study the astonishing discovery using telescopes on three continents and in space.

They found that the black hole, nicknamed AT2018hyz, is ejecting material at half the speed of light – five times faster than normal.

However, they remained unsure as to why the “Burp” star took three years to complete.

“This is the first time we’ve seen such a long delay between feeding and outflow,” said Ido Berger, a professor of astronomy at Harvard and CfA, and co-author of the new study.

“The next step is to explore whether this really occurs more regularly, and we simply haven’t looked at TDE late enough in its development.”

The team hopes the study will help scientists better understand the feeding behavior of black holes.

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