A dying flash.

CSM takes a somber look at a star essentially giving a final wave as it’s swallowed by a black hole:

Using Swift observations and others by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Bloom and his colleagues concluded that the strange activity they were seeing was likely from a star being ripped apart by a massive black hole, rather than the effects of a gamma-ray burst, which typically can only be observed for about a day.

“This burst produced a tremendous amount of energy over a fairly long period of time,” Bloom said. “That’s because as the black hole rips the star apart, the mass swirls around like water going down a drain, and this swirling process releases a lot of energy.”

These findings are published online in the June 16 issue of the journal Science.

Bloom’s research showed that the highly energetic and long-lasting X-rays and gamma-rays were produced as a star about the size of our sun was violently shredded by a black hole a million times more massive.

But, what makes this a rare event is that this particular black hole has not been eating up matter around it like some other active black holes in the universe, Bloom said. In fact, the researchers sifted through historical records of that region of the cosmos and could not find evidence of previous long-lived X-ray or gamma-ray emissions.

“This event was not the act of gobbling lots of gas, but instead was a sort of impulsive thing,” Bloom said.

Rockin’ illustration at the link.