Friday, January 28

This is how stars tear apart when they get too close to a black hole: the denser, the less chance of survival


That getting too close to a black hole is a death sentence is something we know. But one thing is what can happen to us (it is not pleasant, but nobody or nothing would notice it) and another thing is what happens to a star the size of our sun.

The inevitable gravitational “pull” of a black hole

The phenomenon, seen fleetingly by telescopes but now reproduced in recent NASA simulations that you can see in the video above, shows us how the gravitational pull of the black hole can (literally) tear it apart to turn it into a spiral of matter that ends being sucked into the black hole.

The simulation has assumed a black hole with the mass of a million stars like our Sun, and a star whose orbit passes at a minimum distance of 24 million kilometers from the black hole. At lower mass and lower density, the star is not completely torn apart and recovers its original shape taking advantage of its own gravity. The star survives.

But when the star has more mass and density it is completely torn apart, with its matter spread out in a “filament” which little by little spirals around the black hole and is completely absorbed. The star dies and its matter becomes part of the black hole.

The simulation leaves some doubts in the air pending to be cleared in future improved versions: what happens to a star after surviving a black hole? Does he rush towards him again or does he manage to escape? Be that as it may, the life of any inhabited planet that surrounds that star has it quite raw.



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