A black hole vomits stars after years of eating it

Illustration of a tidal turbulence event.

In June 2021, a radio telescope in New Mexico picked up signs that a black hole had begun spewing material into space, the astrophysical equivalent of spitting out your food. But here’s the problem:He hasn’t eaten anything in years.

A team of astronomers observed the ejection using six observatories: four across North America, South America, Africa and Australia, two in space. The team linked the rejection of 2021 and a star The black hole consumed it three years ago. Team research is published This week in The Astrophysical Journal.

“This totally surprised us—nobody had ever seen anything like this,” Yvette Sindez, Research Associate at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian, lead author of the study, said: in the center Release.

The Radio Bright event is called AT2018hyz. It is a tidal perturbation event, which occurs when a star passing near a black hole detaches or cracks. The jagged stellar material then spins around the black hole in its accretion disk, rather than being sucked across the inevitable event horizon right away. This material heats up, creating signals that astronomers can detect from Earth. Sometimes tidal turbulence events are rapid; other timesStars are slowly ripping apart as they orbit black holes.

Black holes are messy eaters, so it’s not uncommon for them to do so shoot Stellar matter returns to space. But three years is an unusually long time for a black hole to keep its lunch low. Normally, when a star is clouded by a black hole, the Regurgitation is very immediate.

In this case, the black hole has held stellar material for years before you throw it At half the speed of light – unusually fast, the outflow from most tidal turbulence events travels by about 10% light’s speed. “It’s as if this black hole has suddenly started burping out a bunch of material from the star that ate it years ago,” Sendies said.

The team believes that late outflows such as AT2018hyz may be more common than previously thought. To find out, astronomers will need to look at the locations of more tidal turbulence events that they have already missed. These supposed events could have more action in their future.

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