NASA has created a video detailing the destructive effects of a black hole on a nearby star.
The animated video is based on their observations of a real black hole located 290 million light-years away from Earth.
According to a report by NASA, the data about the black hole was gathered with the help of three orbiting X-ray telescopes. The one-minute clip shows a star slowly moving towards a black hole, which is named PGC O43234. The scientists explained this black hole weighs a few million times the sun's mass.
As the star gets close to the black hole, it gets sucked in until it gets completely ripped apart. During this process, which is referred to as tidal disruptions, the rest of the star falls toward the center of the black hole while some of its debris are thrown outward.
This contradicts the common notion nothing can escape a black hole, not even light.
For Jon Miller of Ann Arbor's University of Michigan and lead author of the study, this data depicts what really happens to stars when they encounter a black hole.
"We have seen evidence for a handful of tidal disruptions over the years and have developed a lot of ideas of what goes one," he said in a press release from NASA. "This one is the best chance we have had so far to really understand what happens when a black hole shreds a star."
According to the study's co-author Jelle Kaastra, the black hole absorbs everything from the star. However, since it cannot suck everything up at the same time, debris are oftentimes spewed outwards from its center, Popular Science reported.
"The black hole tears the star apart and starts swallowing material really quickly, but that's not the end of the story," she said in a statement. "The black hole can't keep up that pace so it expels some of the material outwards."
This material then forms the cloud-like structure surrounding the black hole. But, since this cloud or wind is not moving fast enough, it still cannot escape the black hole's gravitational pull.
Although the study on PGC O43234 has provided scientists enough information regarding the effects of black holes, they are still looking for other similar events. They then intend to use these to create more details theoretical models showing the effects of a black hole's gravitational pull on nearby objects.
The study conducted by the researchers was published on October 22 in the scientific journal Nature.
Check out the video of a black hole swallowing a star below.