Black Hole is an enigma in itself and if you are watching a supermassive black hole ripping apart a star, you should consider yourself lucky enough to be witnessing a rare celestial occurrence. Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is involved in solving the mystery of a sudden flash of light from a distant galaxy. After studying the event carefully, the team came to a conclusion that the light came from an exploding star in a distant galaxy. Studying the event for ten months, the QUB astronomers conclude that the event was caused by the ripping apart of a star which wandered too close to a black hole.

Black Holes are regions in space where the gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape from the area. The black hole in question here is gigantic and has a mass which is 100 million times more massive than our sun.

The QUB team studied data obtained from some telescopes, both terrestrial and space including the Hubble space telescope. The bright pulse of light was categorised as the brightest supernova or exploding star and labelled as ASASSN-15lh. However, QUB scientist Stephen Smartt had his reservations and said that it did not look like a supernova. Smartt was the head scientist European Southern Observatory (ESO) project, based in Chile

Prof Smartt is the leader and principal investigator of the mission and after telescopic observation proposed an entirely new explanation of the event. The team suggested that the sun as a star wandered too close to a supermassive black hole and was shred into bits in a phenomenon which has been termed in astronomy as a “tidal disruption event”. Massive amounts of material were converted into light which was radiated all over the universe. It gave the impression that it was a supernova explosion even though the star was much smaller to have ended its life on its own as a supernova explosion.

A Black Hole can be termed as the densest form of matter and even if we squeeze every person on the planet onto a teaspoon – it will be the density of a neutron star. The black hole is ten times denser than a neutron star. An object so compact will have an infinite gravitational force which will not allow even light to escape from itself.