A new study claims that approximately 50 percent of all black holes that consume stars will burp up star remnants years later. Astronomers say they made the discovery after observing several black holes engaged in tidal disruption events (TDEs) for multiple years.
Tech. Entertainment. Science. Science. Sign up to receive the latest tech and entertainment news.
TDEs typically manifest whenever a star comes too close to a black hole. The gravitational pull of the black hole results in the exertion of extreme tidal forces on stars, essentially ripping them to shreds. Stars that fall into the black hole undergo a rapid disintegration. The visible spectrum is affected by the release of electromagnetic radiation.
This leftover material coalesces into a thin, disk-shaped structure, which scientists call an accretion disk, while a portion of the rest of the shattered star is blasted away from the black hole. In turn, this disk makes the gradual transport of matter to the black hole easier. Early in the accretion process, there is instability in the disk. This causes materials to collide and move.
Scientists used radio waves to observe the jets that are produced as a result of these collisions. The TDE is usually the only time astronomers observe black holes that are star-eating. This is why it’s taken us so long to learn how many black holes burp bits of food.
“If you look years later, a very, very large fraction of these black holes that don’t have radio emission at these early times will actually suddenly ‘turn on’ in radio waves,” Yvette Cendes, a research associate at the Havard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and lead author on a new study told Live Science.
Of course, the term “burp” is used here to describe the process that happens after the TDE has passed when remnants of the star are literally ejected from the black hole. It’s not the most scientific term by any means, but it is a good way to describe the situation. And this isn’t the first time we’ve observed a black hole burping up a star’s remains. The new study does provide more information on the frequency of this phenomenon.
A new study on these findings is available on the preprint server arXiv. The study has yet to be peer-reviewed by other scientists.
The post Researchers say 50 percent of black holes burp up star remains years later appeared first on BGR.