Astronomers have gathered the most direct evidence yet of a supermassive black hole shredding a star that wandered too close.
“It is like we are gathering evidence from a crime scene. Because there is very little hydrogen and mostly helium in the gas we detect from the carnage, we know that the slaughtered star had to have been the helium-rich core of a stripped star,” says Johns Hopkins University astronomer Suvi Gezari.
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Photo credit: NASA, S. Gezari/JHU, and J. Guillochon/UC Santa Cruz