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Scientists Record Signal of Distant Black Hole Consuming Star

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the om-nom-nom dept.

Space 42

ananyo writes "Astronomers think they have seen the flare of a dying star being eviscerated by a black hole. The signal, spotted by three different satellites, could shed light on the relationship between the smaller black holes seen in our own galaxy and the supermassive ones in distant reaches of the Universe. The stellar victim was first seen in 2011 by Swift, a NASA satellite designed to spot bursts of high-energy photons known as gamma-rays. For more than a month, Swift watched a signal from a distant galaxy, which eventually faded from view. Subsequent analysis showed that the gamma-rays probably came from a star being ripped to pieces by a previously unknown black hole (abstract)."

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42 comments

It sounds like (-1)

durrr (1316311) | about a year and a half ago | (#40869729)

... a million screaming children...

We need congress to enact laws against this atrocious crime!

Re:It sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40869761)

So, that's how an interstellar burp sounds? Or was it an interstellar fart?

Hipster hole (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#40869769)

It wasn't a black hole, it was a hipster hole... You probably didn't know about it until now.

girlintraining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40894319)

Who are you and why are you modded near the top of nearly every Slashdot article nowadays? Where did you come from?

eviscerated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40869789)

Eviscerated: so the black hole gutted the star? that seems unlikely.
Stars are like lollipops and that you have to start on the outside when you eat them.

-Galactus

Re:eviscerated? (1)

InterGuru (50986) | about a year and a half ago | (#40870179)

The ultra strong tidal forces around the black hole probably squeezed the star apart rather than peeled off the surface. This is called the noodle effect or spaghettification [wikipedia.org] .

Re:eviscerated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40870441)

Proof of the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

But enough about Hollywood talent agencies... (1)

BMOC (2478408) | about a year and a half ago | (#40869797)

I wish astronomers would stop training their telescopes on the activities in this region.

Re:But enough about Hollywood talent agencies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40869861)

Actually, I think the proper technical term is "sector", not "region".

supermassive ones in distant reaches of the verse (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#40869815)

Or just a few lightyears away in the center of our own galaxy.

Re:supermassive ones in distant reaches of the ver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40871127)

Or just a few lightyears away in the center of our own galaxy.

God bless Slashdot, where ~26,000 light years [dailygalaxy.com] is considered close.

Oh, sorry, I forgot to give that in standard units: Sagittarius A* is approximately 2*10^18 [google.com] James Madison Memorial Building widths [emporis.com] (ie. largest building in the Library of Congress complex) distant. I apologize for my initial faux pas.

real black hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40869825)

The original source "has to be something very close to a black hole", agrees Simon Vaughan, an astronomer at the University of Leicester, UK. But, he adds, "I would express some caution about the result". Light from the distant hole is faint and flickering, and as a result the signal is very noisy, he says. It may be that the researchers have seen a blob of material circling the cosmic drain, but it is also possible that the measurement is a statistical fluke. "Their end result is not so convincing that I would bet serious money on it," he says.

- does anybody know if there are 'black hole is eating a nearby star' bids going? Can I bid a small sum of cash that there is a black hole and it is consuming something alright? The black hole being this spending program and the 'nearby star' is the host economy.

Headline Grammar strikes again! (4, Informative)

Captain Spam (66120) | about a year and a half ago | (#40869921)

Just to clarify, in case anyone jumped to the same conclusion I did at first:

Scientists Record Signal Of Distant Black Hole Consuming A Star

Not:

Scientists Record Signal Of Distant Black-Hole-Consuming Star

Minor difference.

Re:Headline Grammar strikes again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40869985)

So they didn't actually record a signal from a star that consumes black holes? Damn, that sounded more interesting to me.

Re:Headline Grammar strikes again! (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#40870857)

Scientists Record Signal Of Distant Black-Hole-Consuming Star

A while back I was watching some show on astronomy (might have been The Universe on the history channel) where they talking about stellar deaths and stellar collisions. One of the scenarios was a neutron star (possibly a white dwarf I don't remember) passing through a regular start and resulting in a super nova.

Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40874505)

Because stars are not alive.

Re:Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#40874823)

Gee, cosmologists like this one [wikipedia.org] have been using those very words [archive.org] to describe stellar creation and destruction for 75 years or more.

But they're just scientists, so what the heck do they know, anyway?

Re:Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40875613)

They're writing dreck for people who like to read it. The reality is too hard for them to cope with, they want fluffy bunnies and unicorns.

So the OP is quite correct; A star is a ball of plasma, it is not a living entity.

Re:Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#40875701)

Fine, let's see what the dictionary [merriam-webster.com] says:

Examples of BIRTH ...
        the birth of the solar system
        the birth of the blues
        We are witnessing the birth of a new era.

I have some hoisin sauce in the fridge, might make that crow go down a little better.

Re:Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40881505)

I bet you're one of those fuckwits who dresses like her heroes.

Re:Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40882821)

Who knew that gigantic thermonuclear-powered plasma spheres were living creatures, born as a result of the special love mommy and daddy stars have for each other, and who will one day die and go to live in happy happy joy joy star heaven?

No doubt they have great big happy smilie faces and just want to keep Mother Earth nice and cozy and snuggly and warm as a baby rabbit curled up with its mommy in a lovely little house in the woods.

Amazing to realize that I always thought only three-year-old girls and anthropomorphizing homosexuals went in for such ideas.

Re:Stars don't die. Nor are they born. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40883265)

This.

IAAA, and I cannot tell you quite how much it annoys me to read and hear fellow astronomers and astrophysicists talking about "the life cycle of stars" or discussing star "birth" and "death".

Emotive claptrap such as that should be relegated to the arts and humanities.

Re:Headline Grammar strikes again! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40871053)

Fuck off.

Better ban this! (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year and a half ago | (#40870445)

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when asked to comment, suggested that consuming whole stars is a major cause of black hole obesity and that he is introducing legislation to limit black hole consumption to dwarf stars and interstellar gasses. Local law enforcement expressed skepticism that the ban could enforced, since the black holes are "a bajillion light years out of our jurisdiction" but Bloomberg was adamant that "if we can save even one black hole from a life of obesity and health issues then we have an obligation to act no matter what the cost".

Re:Better ban this! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#40873421)

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when asked to comment, suggested that consuming whole stars is a major cause of black hole obesity and that he is introducing legislation to limit black hole consumption to dwarf stars and interstellar gasses. Local law enforcement expressed skepticism that the ban could enforced, since the black holes are "a bajillion light years out of our jurisdiction" but Bloomberg was adamant that "if we can save even one black hole from a life of obesity and health issues then we have an obligation to act no matter what the cost".

Dwarf stars are like a drug to black holes. He is warming up to the drug challenge which he will take on next.

Sad Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40870577)

Posted for an hour and nothing but bad snarky jokes, grammar complaints and political commentary.

Re:Sad Slashdot (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year and a half ago | (#40870939)

Oh sure. Thats something that Obama would say. In Soviet Russia jokes bad snarky YOU! And you left out a comma. Stupid Nazi AC Troll. Did I mention goat.se?

Re:Sad Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40872447)

Posted for three hours, and now it is nothing but bad snarky jokes, grammar complaints, political commentary, and post content complaints.

Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40870661)

Boy, all I can say is "that REALLY sucks!"

I felt a great disturbance in the Force... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40870841)

...as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Stellar 911. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40870851)

Scientists Record Signal of Distant Black Hole Consuming Star

Help meeeeee!

Re:Stellar 911. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#40873361)

Scientists Record Signal of Distant Black Hole Consuming Star

Help meeeeee!

That's no moon.

Star falling into Black Hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40871805)

Galactic Center Series to the Rescue !!!

Signals of a Black Hole consuming a star... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40872101)

I knew I felt a great disturbance in the force...

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