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01st Dec 2022

Mysterious black hole has been found pointing directly at Earth blasting light at us

Steve Hopkins

The detected light started its journey across space when the universe was about a third of the age it is now

Astronomers have identified an incredibly intense blast of visible light that came towards Earth as having come from a black hole.

The discovery marks the first time scientists have seen a black hole use light, prompting excitement as it came from a region of space where no light had been observed before.

The findings have been reported in two new papers –  ‘A very luminous jet from the disruption of a star by a massive black hole’ published in Nature and ‘The Birth of a Relativistic Jet Following the Disruption of a Star by a Cosmological Black Hole’ – published in Nature Astronomy.

The discovery was only possible because the jet was pointing almost directly at Earth. When stars get too close to a black hole, they are torn to shreds and the blast can be detected throughout the universe.

The event is known as a tidal disruption event, or TDE, and in about 1 per cent of cases they send plasma and radiation out of each side of the black hole.

The Independent noted that the events are known as jetted-TDEs, and have been likened to grabbing a toothpaste tube and having material spurt out of either end.

Scientists watch the skies for signs of the events in the hope they can use turn advanced telescopes towards the source. The events are hardly ever seen so very little is known about them.

But, in February, it happened: astronomers saw a blast of visible light that led scientists to train some of the world’s most advanced telescopes towards its source.

The light, reports suggest, appeared to give off more light than 1,000 trillion suns, and cam out of a part of the sky where no such light had been seen before.

Scientists now believe that it comes out of one of those jetted-TDEs and that it probably formed when a black hole started demolishing a star, shooting energy through the universe.

The light that had reached Earth started its journey across space when the universe was about a third of the age it is now.

It led astronomers to discover the TDE, which has already broken a whole host of records. Scientists hope that it will help them better understood black holes.

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black hole,Space