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Section 5

Devouring the crazy #BlackFriday deals?

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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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