Research press release


Nature Astronomy

Fatal attraction burns bright between star and black hole


天文学者たちはこの事象(ASASSN-15lh と名付けた)を当初は超新星爆発に分類したが、実際はこれまで観測された最も明るい事象だった。しかし、Giorgos Leloudasたちは継続的な観測から、その事象がブラックホールの重力的な影響によって分裂している星であるという、別の説明を提案した。これらのいわゆる潮汐破壊事象の多くはこれまでも観測されているが、著者はこの例が最も明るいものと評価されると指摘した。


A massive, spinning black hole has been caught in the act of tearing apart a star that wandered too close, according to a paper published online in Nature Astronomy this week. This scenario is the latest interpretation behind a bright flare that was detected by an automated telescope in Chile last year.

Astronomers initially classified this event (named ASASSN-15lh) as a supernova explosion - indeed, the most luminous ever observed. However, continued observations led Giorgos Leloudas and colleagues to propose an alternative explanation for the event: a star disintegrating under the gravitational influence of a black hole. Many of these so-called tidal disruption events have been observed previously, but the authors note that this instance would rank as the brightest.

The team undertook a 10-month observing campaign and combined their observations with additional data gathered from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission and ground-based telescopes. Based on this data, they argue that the flare originated from the very centre of a galaxy - where one would expect a black hole to reside. They also note that the host galaxy’s high mass and lack of current star-forming activity is not consistent with a supernova explanation.

doi: 10.1038/s41550-016-0002

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