Footage shows black hole destroying star the size of our Sun

27 September 2019, 10:12 | Updated: 27 September 2019, 10:18

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

NASA has released images showing the moment a black hole ripped apart a star believed to be a similar size to our Sun.

The event, discovered by telescope in January, saw the star pass too close to a black hole, causing it to stretch and break apart in what is known as a tidal disruption.

Remnants of the destroyed star were then seen to settle into the area surrounding the hole, which is believed to be around 6 millions times the Sun's mass.

It is an extremely rare phenomenon with only one such event taking place every 10,000 to 100,000 years in a galaxy the size of the Milky Way.

The footage shows the star being stretched and engulfed
The footage shows the star being stretched and engulfed. Picture: NASA

This event, however, called the ASASSN-19bt, took place in a galaxy 375 million light years away in the Volans constellation.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow Patrick Vallely said early data allowed astronomers to spot the star's light close to the black hole - "much closer than we've been able to see before".

He added: "They also show us that ASASSN-19bt's rise in brightness was very smooth, which helps us tell that they event was a tidal disruption and not another type of outburst, like from the centre of a galaxy or a supernova."