Black Hole Rips a Star in Half — Literally

Some 3.8 billion light years away, one of the most fascinating, stunning and frightening things has happened — a star was violently ripped to pieces by the gravity of a blach hole. Of course this happened several billions of lightyears away, but the fact that we have an image as clear as the one to your left is nothing short of incredible.


Because those other dots with the white fuzz around them? Those are galaxies. That big yellow and white dot in the center? That is also a galaxy, but it is greatly brightened by the star being crushed by the immense gravitational pressures of the supermassive black hole at the center of that galaxy.

So what happened? In short, the star was ripped apart by the black hole:

In a flash, the star was torn apart, and octillions of tons of ionized gas burst outward! This material whipped around the black hole, forming a disk of plasma called an accretion disk. Magnetic fields, friction, and turbulence superheated the plasma, and also focused twin beams of matter and energy which blasted out from the poles of the disk, away from the black hole itself. The energy stored in these beams is incredible, crushing our imagination into dust: for a time, they shone with the light of a trillion Suns!

I think I speak for everybody on Earth when I say “thank god this happened nearly four billion light years away!”


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