Scientists observing a distant galaxy catch a black hole in the middle of destroying a planet larger than Jupiter.
Like virtually every other galaxy in the universe, the Galaxy NGC 4845 has a central black hole. For the past few decades, though, that black hole has lain dormant, without giving much sign it was there. That changed recently, however, when scientists caught the black hole the in process of eating a little snack. “Little” in this case being a planet larger than Jupiter.
“The observation was completely unexpected, from a galaxy that has been quiet for at least 20–30 years,” said lead researcher Marek Nikolajuk in a press release.
So unexpected, in fact, that astronomers weren’t even looking at the Galaxy when they were doing their research. They were using the ESA’s Integral system to observe an entirely different galaxy. It just so happened that while they were doing so…
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