Sunday, June 23, 2024

Indian telescope observes cosmic violence as dying star comes close to a black hole

Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) is India’s first fully robotic optical research telescope developed jointly by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. The primary research focus of this telescope is time-domain astronomy: the study of explosive transients and variable sources in the universe.

The international collaboration of astronomers studied a rare optical flare caused by a dying star’s encounter with a supermassive black hole. The black hole took part of the stellar material and launched it as “relativistic jets” – beams of matter travelling close to the speed of light.It doesn’t end well for the star. The star gets violently pulled apart by the black hole’s gravitational tidal forces. The shreds of the star form a spinning disc around the black hole and are eventually consumed by it. Such events are called Tidal Disruption Events, or TDEs,” Varun Bhalerao, an astrophysicist at IIT Bombay, said in a statement .

The results of the study have been published in the journal Nature.

The findings have its source in images obtained by the California-based Zwicky Transient Facility project on 11 February 2022. These showed a new source in the sky, dubbed AT2022cmc, which seemed to have brightened rapidly and was now fading fast.

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