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Initially, scientists classified ASASSN-15lh as a superluminous supernova — indeed, the most luminous seen yet. However, researchers now think this explosion may actually have been the death throes of a star ripped apart by a supermassive black hole up to billions of times the mass of the sun.
A number of factors suggested that ASASSN-15lh was not a superluminous supernova. For instance, it occurred in a large, reddish galaxy, "a location where we should not find superluminous supernovae," said lead study author Giorgos Leloudas...
Instead, the researchers suggest that ASASSN-15lh may have been caused by a star disintegrating under the gravitational pull of a black hole — a so-called tidal disruption event. The composition of the elements seen in the explosion are more consistent with a tidal disruption event of a low-mass star than with a superluminous supernova, Leloudas said.
Prior work found that the supermassive black hole at the center of ASASSN-15lh's galaxy was so big that it would have swallowed a star whole instead of ripping it apart. Using new models, Leloudas and his colleagues have discovered that a rapidly whirling supermassive black hole could rend a star to pieces instead of gulping it down whole.
Only about 10 tidal disruption events have been discovered, the researchers said. This new finding may demonstrate that "tidal disruption events show a much larger diversity than what we knew before, and that they can reach extreme luminosities," Leloudas said.
The explosion, named ASASSN-15lh, happened about 3.8 billion light-years from Earth, in the sky at the border of the southern constellations Indus and Tucana, and gave off about 570 billion times more light than the sun does at its peak.
Thanks for sharing, nice find. Anything that releases that much energy is a truly amazing facet of nature, whatever it is.
originally posted by: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
Do you think that their new explanation is correct?
That's correct because gravitational spaghettification doesn't occur with supermassive black holes, which also means the first artist's conception in the link showing something like that is probably wrong, but the second illustration is probably much closer. The first illustration wouldn't seem to apply at all to this case so they probably shouldn't be showing that at all, that's what would happen with a much less massive black hole.
Prior work found that the supermassive black hole at the center of ASASSN-15lh's galaxy was so big that it would have swallowed a star whole instead of ripping it apart.
That's entirely possible, but again I wouldn't call that spaghettification, it sounds more like "shredding", or invent a new term more descriptive than spaghettification, if it's not spaghettification and it sounds like a different effect.
Using new models, Leloudas and his colleagues have discovered that a rapidly whirling supermassive black hole could rend a star to pieces instead of gulping it down whole.
originally posted by: carewemust
What I wonder when reading of events like this, is if any intelligent life (that wasn't advanced enough to leave) was wiped out on the planet(s) surrounding the star.
I wonder how much advance notice you'd get?
Instead of cooling down over time as supernovas are supposed to do, "this object, after 100 days, started warming up again, and stayed hot at a constant and very high temperature for a long time, and it continues to do so," he said
According to Krzysztof Stanek of Ohio State University, one of the principal investigators at ASAS-SN, "If it was in our own galaxy, it would shine brighter than the full moon; there would be no night, and it would be easily seen during the day."[