Astronomers caught a supermassive black hole consuming a star that was drifting in space. The star was eaten so fast by the black hole that the Eddington limit –the theoretical maximum speed limit that defines how fast matter can be consumed by a black hole, was briefly exceeded.
Since the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts, about 50 years ago, a complete explanation of their dynamics remains elusive. Now, astronomers have developed a new theoretical model than offers a plausible explanation for their formation.
The accretion disk that surrounds black holes emits X-rays that often show rhythmic pulses. These are known as quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) and their exact nature remains unknown.
Magnetars are the strongest magnets in the universe. 29 magnetars have been detected to date, but the exact physical mechanism(s) that creates them remains unknown. Recently, astronomers, discovered another unusual feature in one of these magnetars; a wind nebulae.
Astronomers know that supermassive black holes that live in the centre of massive galaxies are fed by hot ionized gas from the galaxy’s halo. Recent observations reveal that chaotic, cold rain is also included in their diet.
An outstanding question in modern astronomy is how can growing black holes be so critical in the formation and evolution of their host galaxy when they are billion times more compact than the galaxies in which they reside in? KMOS, an instrument operating at VLT will allow scientists to answer this question and more.