Binge Eater: Black hole taking over decade to devour star
Marcia Dunn, Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists have detected a black hole that’s taken a record-breaking decade to devour a star — and it’s still chewing away.
The food fest is happening in a small galaxy 1.8 billion light-years from Earth.
University of New Hampshire research scientist Dacheng (dah-CHENG) Lin says black hole feeding frenzies have been observed since the 1990s, but they’ve lasted just a year. At 11 years and counting, this is the longest known one yet.
Lin and his team used data from orbiting X-ray telescopes to study the monstrous munching. X-ray flares erupt when a star gets swallowed by a black hole and cooked millions of degrees. Black holes clearly like their stars well done.
The discovery was reported Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.