tidal disruption

Astronomers Catch a Black Hole Shredding A Star to Pieces

Astronomers Catch a Black Hole Shredding A Star to Pieces

When a star comes too close to a black hole, the intense gravity of the black hole results in tidal forces that can rip the star apart. In these events, called tidal disruptions, some of the stellar debris is flung outward at high speeds, while the rest falls toward the black hole. This causes a distinct X-ray flare that can last for years.