Indian telescope

Indian telescope observes cosmic violence as a dying star comes close to a black hole

cosmos science

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay together created the first fully robotic optical research telescope in India, known as Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH). This telescope’s main area of study is time-domain astronomy, which examines the universe’s exploding transients and fluctuating sources.

The uncommon optical flare produced by the collision of a dying star with a supermassive black hole was investigated by an international team of scientists. A portion of the star material was captured by the black hole, which then released it as “relativistic jets”—beams of matter moving nearly as fast as light.

“The celebrity has a poor outcome. The gravitational tidal forces of the black hole rip the star violently apart. The star’s fragments spin in a disc around the black hole before being engulfed by it. Tidal Disruption Events, or TDEs, are what these occurrences are known as, according to a statement by IIT Bombay astronomer Varun Bhalerao.

The magazine Nature has published the study’s findings.

The research was based on photos taken on February 11, 2022, by the Zwicky Transient Facility project in California. These revealed the existence of a brand-new source in the sky called AT2022cmc, which appeared to have brightened quickly and was now swiftly declining.

The event was first observed by astronomers from IIT Bombay using the GROWTH-India telescope at Hanle, close to the Indian Astronomical Observatory. “We acted swiftly and began using the GROWTH-India Telescope to collect daily observations. According to our data, the object was fading at a distinct, unexpected rate that distinguished it from the many other sources we regularly investigate, continued Harsh Kumar, a PhD candidate at IIT Bombay.

The India team then organised a global partnership and conducted the observations using radio, X-ray, huge ground-based optical, and even the Hubble Space Telescope. The ESO Very Large Telescope indicated that AT2022cmc was 8.5 billion light years away and that it was fading rapidly based on subsequent observations from other observatories.

The light from AT2022cmc outshone it, leading astronomers to hypothesise that AT2022cmc was at the centre of a galaxy that is not yet visible. However, when the transient eventually vanishes, subsequent space surveys with the Hubble or James Webb Space Telescopes may reveal the galaxy. 

Andreoni and his team deduced from their observations that the black holes in AT2022cmc and other similarly jetted TDEs are probably rotating quickly in order to drive the extraordinarily bright jets. This leads researchers closer to understanding the physics of supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies billions of light years away by indicating that a rapid black hole spin may be one required component for jet launching.