Caught in the act: A black hole rips apart an unfortunate star
Robie de Guzman • September 27, 2019 • 556
Scientists have captured a view of a colossal black hole violently ripping apart a doomed star, illustrating an extraordinary and chaotic cosmic event from beginning to end for the first time using NASA’s planet-hunting telescope.
The U.S. space agency’s orbiting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, better known as TESS, revealed the detailed timeline of a star 375 million light-years away warping and spiraling into the unrelenting gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole, researchers said on Thursday.
The star, roughly the same size as our sun, was eventually sucked into oblivion in a rare cosmic occurrence that astronomers call a tidal disruption event, they added.
Astronomers used an international network of telescopes to detect the phenomenon before turning to TESS, whose permanent viewing zones designed to hunt distant planets caught the beginning of the violent event, proving effective its unique method of surveilling the cosmos.
Such phenomena happen when a star ventures too close to a supermassive black hole, objects that reside at the center of most large galaxies including our Milky Way.
The black hole’s tremendous gravitational forces tear the star to shreds, with some of its material tossed into space and the rest plunging into the black hole, forming a disk of hot, bright gas as it is swallowed.
Observing the oscillation of light as the black hole gobbles the star and spews stellar material in an outward spiral could help astronomers understand the black hole’s behavior, a scientific mystery since physicist Albert Einstein’s work more than a century ago examined gravity’s influence on light in motion. (Reuters)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched the Lunar Loo Challenge to call on the global community to design compact toilets that can operate in both microgravity and lunar gravity.
The new design may be adapted for use in the Artemis lunar landers as NASA prepares to return to the moon by 2024.
“Although space toilets already exist and are in use (at the International Space Station, for example), they are designed for microgravity only. NASA is looking for a next-generation device that is smaller, more efficient, and capable of working in both microgravity and lunar gravity,” according to NASA.
NASA’s Lunar Loo challenge has a total prize purse of $35,000 that will be shared among the teams submitting the top three designs in the Technical category.
NASA is also encouraging the next generation of space explorers, engineers, and scientists, to also design new concepts through the Junior Category. For all the details, visit https://www.herox.com/LunarLoo. AAC
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.