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Full Version: Black Hole Eats Star: Produces bright gamma-ray Belch
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This is interesting: Black hole eats star, producing bright gamma-ray flash

Quote:BERKELEY — A bright flash of gamma rays observed March 28 by the Swift satellite may have been the death rattle of a star falling into a massive black hole and being ripped apart, according to a team of astronomers led by the University of California, Berkeley.

When the Swift Gamma Burst Mission spacecraft first detected the flash within the constellation Draco, astronomers thought it was a gamma-ray burst from a collapsing star and designated it GRB 110328A. On March 31, however, UC Berkeley’s Joshua Bloom sent out an email circular suggesting that it wasn’t a typical gamma-ray burst at all, but a high-energy jet produced as a star about the size of our sun was shredded by a black hole a million times more massive.
“This is truly different from any explosive event we have seen before,” Bloom said.

What made this gamma-ray flare, called Sw 1644+57, stand out from a typical burst were its long duration and the fact that it appeared to come from the center of a galaxy nearly 4 billion light years away. Since most, if not all, galaxies are thought to contain a massive black hole at the center, a long-duration burst could conceivably come from the relatively slow tidal disruption of an infalling star, the astronomers said.

“This burst produced a tremendous amount of energy over a fairly long period of time, and the event is still going on more than two and a half months later,” said Bloom, an associate professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. “That’s because as the black hole rips the star apart, the mass swirls around like water going down a drain, and this swirling process releases a lot of energy.”
This calls for a Gary Larson cartoon. Can you imagine a bunch of astronomers sitting around and getting profoundly turned on by this?
John Deering and the Strange Brew Comics are close:

[Image: dfa9c3105d1b012ee3bd00163e41dd5b]

I can easily see how many astronomers pass the time when stuff like this isn't happening before their eyes.