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​This Black Hole Is The Universe’s Ultimate Savage

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​This Black Hole Is The Universe’s Ultimate Savage

We've all been there haven't we, after eating a big meal.

Maybe you went to a Chinese buffet and decided if you were going to pay a tenner - to eat food with the texture of those elastic toys you buy for your dog from pound shops - you sure as hell are going to eat as much of that rubbery mush as possible. Maybe you're just a greedy bastard. Either way you're full of food, and at the end of the day, it's better out than in.

According to NASA, black holes go through a similar thing. When they swallow a star in an event called a "stellar tidal disruption", they release a great burst of energy, including a flare full of high-energy radiation.

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Essentially they're burping up fire from after a humongous meal. Two studies have examined the intergalactic belching, observing the way they demolish the space dust around the black hole.

And this savage phenomenon happened recently, captured by researchers and scientists.

From this, using NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), researchers measured the radiation released, known as "hot dust." It creates a shell within a few trillion miles of the black holes, around half a light year out from the epicentre of the spill out.

"The black hole has destroyed everything between itself and this dust shell," said Sjoert van Velzen, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of one of the studies, in a statement. "It's as though the black hole has cleaned its room by throwing flames."

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Stellar tidal disruption isn't yet well understood and the studies are big step forward for scientists to understand how black holes function.

An artist's illustration. Featured image credit: NASA

James Dawson
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