A black hole revealed its existence to astronomers when it devoured a star that was wandering near it, as the medium-mass black hole located in a galaxy a million light-years from Earth tore the star apart, making it visible when it released a radiation wave so powerful that it briefly outnumbered all a star in his galaxy.
According to Space, this event could help scientists better understand the relationship between galaxies and the black holes within them, co-author of the research and astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Ryan Foley said in a statement.
The event glow was also first observed by astronomers using an experiment that is an astronomical survey that detects short-lived cosmic events such as star explosions, as the black hole begins to devour the star.
Observing this initial moment of destruction was vital in allowing an international team led by UCSF scientists and Niels Bohr Institute astronomer Charlotte Angus to measure the mass of the black hole and find it to be between about 100,000 and a million times the mass of the Sun.
“The fact that we were able to capture this medium-sized black hole while devouring a star gave us a wonderful opportunity to discover what could have been hidden from us,” Angus said. The majority of black holes are at the centers of galaxies.”