New: In addition to Science Today, now Science Tonight. An easy-to-digest scientific minute to brush your teeth. This time: spaghetti.
It may seem like an edible thing, but spaghetti isn’t exactly tasty. It can actually be compared to the tidal forces on Earth. What is closer to the source of gravity, something is pulled further away. In the case of a black hole, these forces are enormous. If a star approaches it, the side closest to it will be pulled toward the hole faster than the other side. If the star’s own gravity is no longer strong enough to hold things together, the strings form and you get spaghetti.
How long it will take before the star disappears forever with another big flash of light depends on several things: the size of the star, but also the size of the black hole. It is also possible for the strings to rotate only slightly for a long time. Because only when the head and tail touch is the end of the story. Sometimes it takes up to a year for this to happen. Such a blinking of a disjointed star has been seen many times, but recently the part in front of it – spaghetti – was also first discovered.
Certainly if this streak continues for a while, you can see its traces when you measure the flash. These traces disrupt the light signal that we can detect on Earth and because it’s a very specific disturbance, researchers now think they’re sure they’ve found the evidence. They can now even calculate how wide the chains are.
Hear also: First spaghetti star tip. Twitter image credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.
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