Giant Black Hole Rips Star Apart

Chandra_76_1024

chandra_76 February 18th, 2004

Credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray: NASA/CXC/MPE/S.Komossa et al.; Optical: ESO/MPE/S.Komossa

Observations with Chandra (lower left image) and other X-ray observatories confirmed that a powerful X-ray outburst had occurred in the center of RX J1242-11, which appears normal in a ground-based optical image (lower right, with the white circle defining the location of the Chandra image). This X-ray outburst, one of the most powerful ever detected in a galaxy, is evidence for the catastrophic destruction of a star that wandered too close to a supermassive black hole. The illustration (top) shows how, after a close encounter with another star, the doomed star (orange circle) takes a path toward the giant black hole where the black hole's enormous gravity stretches the star until it is torn apart. Only a few percent of the disrupted star's mass (indicated by the white stream) is swallowed by the black hole, while the rest is flung away into the surrounding galaxy.

Image Source: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2004/rxj1242/

Curator: Chandra X-ray Observatory, Cambridge, MA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/image_use.html

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Image Details

Image Type
Artwork
Object Name
RX J1242-11
Subject - Local Universe
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Main Sequence
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Black Hole

Distance

Universescale3
700,000,000 light years
Chandra_76_1280
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ID
76
Subject Category
C.3.1.3   C.3.1.10  
Subject Name
RX J1242-11
Credits
Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray: NASA/CXC/MPE/S.Komossa et al.; Optical: ESO/MPE/S.Komossa
Release Date
2004-02-18
Lightyears
700,000,000
Redshift
700,000,000
Reference Url
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2004/rxj1242/
Type
Artwork
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Chandra X-ray Observatory
URL
http://chandra.harvard.edu
Name
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
Email
cxcpub@cfa.harvard.edu
Telephone
617.496.7941
Address
60 Garden St.
City
Cambridge
State/Province
MA
Postal Code
02138
Country
USA
Rights
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/image_use.html
Publisher
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
Publisher ID
chandra
Resource ID
rxj1242_ill.tif
Metadata Date
2012-03-21T14:18:51-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Universescalefull
700,000,000 light years