WATCH: NASA's TESS Captures First Star-Smashing Black Hole

Rebekah Sager
September 27, 2019 - 11:10 am

Once again NASA blows minds with the latest discovery captured on video of a "cataclysmic phenomenon" by the planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite aka TESS. 

The video shows a black hole decimating a star in a galaxy far, far away. 

NASA astronomers say the black hole, which is located about 375 million light-years away, weighs as much as 6 million times the sun's mass in a galaxy of a similar size to the Milky Way. 

“TESS data let us see exactly when this destructive event, named ASASSN-19bt, started to get brighter, which we’ve never been able to do before,” said Thomas Holoien, a Carnegie Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. “Because we identified the tidal disruption quickly with the ground-based All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), we were able to trigger multiwavelength follow-up observations in the first few days. The early data will be incredibly helpful for modeling the physics of these outbursts.”

A paper describing the findings, led by Holoien, was published in the Sept. 27, 2019, issue of The Astrophysical Journal and is now available online.