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We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Before: Scientists

As per a new study on a black hole that ripped a star in 2018, it’s spewing out matter despite not swallowing anything in last few years.

Matter is spewing out of a black hole in a way that has never been seen before, scientists have said.

The bizarre events began in 2018, when scientists saw a small star get ripped to shreds by a black hole roughly 665 million light years from Earth. Such spectacular and violent behaviour is relatively routine for scientists studying black holes, which have a tendency to rip apart other objects nearby, and so the black hole was seen a not especially interesting.

But scientists were then shocked to find that three years on, the same black hole came back to life, throwing out material. Unusually, however, it has not devoured anything new.

“This caught us completely by surprise — no one has ever seen anything like this before,” said Yvette Cendes, the lead author of a new study on the strange black hole.

The material appears to have been delayed in coming out of the black hole, scientists believe. They still do not know why that process was held back, but further research should allow a better understanding of black holes’ dramatic eating patterns, they hope.

Researchers first spotted the strange behaviour in 2021, using the Very Large Array in New Mexico. Unusual readings suggested that the black hole appeared to have come back to life, unexpectedly.

A team of international astronomers then rushed to find out what was going on. The surprise led them to apply for urgent time on telescopes to understand what was going on.

As they gathered information, they found that the radio signature of the event was dramatic. It had gone silent for three years – and then resumed, with a blast of radio energy that was one of the most powerful ever seen.

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