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This supermassive black hole is devouring a glowing stream of material from a star! Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects. When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole, the stellar material gets stretched and compressed -- or “spaghettified” -- as the black hole swallows it. A black hole destroying a star, an event called “stellar tidal disruption,” releases an enormous amount of energy, brightening the surroundings in an event called a flare. Thanks to our Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), we now have new insights into these flares. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features. This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle. Credit: NASA/SDO
What do you think this tadpole-shaped impact crater says about the water that used to fill it? Based on the terrain-height information and knowing that water always flows downhill, scientists were able to infer that the water in the tadpole crater was flowing down, and outward. The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona #nasa #space mars