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Stellar Homicide

With the aid of a telescope at Mount Haleakala in Hawaii, researchers were able to observe a supermassive black hole in the process of devouring a star. Of course black holes have a penchant for sucking in stellar bodies, but what makes this significant is that it was observed from start to finish, giving astrophysicists precious new information on how the process looks like when it begins. This computer simulation shows the time period in which a star first begins its final ascent into a black hole. The strong gravitational forces tidally shred the star, ejecting some of its gases into space. Astronomers observe this energy release as a flare in uv and visible light as the gas falls back into the black hole. In any case with the data collected it looks like a cut and dry case for NASA CSI ;)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6990040586?likes_hd=1
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