The Atlantic

Black Holes Really Know How to Savor Their Meals

Astronomers have detected the glow of a star being slowly devoured millions of light-years from Earth.
Source: Sophia Dagnello / NRAO / AUI / NSF

In 2005, astronomers detected a burst of infrared light coming from the heart of a galaxy nearly 150 million light-years from Earth. They had been studying the night sky for supernovae, the glittering explosions that mark the deaths of stars, but this seemed different. Intrigued, they decided to keep an eye on it.

After years of observations, the astronomers have determined the source of this

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
What Happens When a Billionaire Swoops In to Solve the Student-Debt Crisis
A philanthropist surprised Morehouse College graduates at commencement by announcing he would pay off their student loans. But one person—even a very generous one—can only do so much.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Macron and Salvini: Two Leaders, Two Competing Visions for Europe
The French and Italian politicians see different futures for the continent. Both face tests in this week’s European Parliament elections.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Self-Limiting Revolution
Knock Down the House set out to show an inspiring political movement—but instead revealed its boundaries.