NASA Captures Black Hole Shredding A Star The Size Of Our Sun

The cosmic event which happens once every 10,000 to 100,000 years in a galaxy of our size was captured on NASA's newest telescope.

NASA caught the rare cosmic event with one of its newest telescopes -- a black hole violently ripping apart a star roughly the size of our sun. The phenomenon, known as a tidal disruption event, was captured in detail by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.

The event in question happened in January, however researchers published their findings of the event in The Astrophysical Journal on Thursday.

Scientists used an international network of 20 robotic telescopes called ASAS-SN (All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae) to detect the tidal disruption event back in January, before turning to TESS, which caught the beginning of the cosmic showdown.

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Astronomers believe the supermassive black hole weighs 6 millions times more than our sun's mass, and sits in a galaxy 375 million light-years away.

Still from an animation of NASA's TESS satellite. Photo: NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

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Using its permanent viewing zones, TESS was able to watch the star getting sucked into the black hole and collect necessary data used to study the event. NASA released an animated video illustrating the cataclysmic phenomenon.

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"TESS data let us see exactly when this destructive event, named ASASSN-19bt, started to get brighter, which we've never been able to do before," Thomas Holoien from the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, said in a statement on NASA's website.

"The early data will be incredibly helpful for modeling the physics of these outbursts."