Tidal disruption event (TDE)

  • IASbaba
  • December 3, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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Context: A mysterious and intensely bright flash of light coming from halfway across the universe earlier this year had stunned astronomers worldwide. The source of the intense beam has now been identified — a supermassive black hole ripping apart a star, pointing directly at Earth.

About Tidal disruption event (TDE):

  • Astronomers study Blackholes by watching for their effects on nearby stars and gas. These stars are disrupted when the black hole’s tidal gravity exceeds the star’s self-gravity, and this phenomenon is called tidal disruption events (TDE).
  • The tidal disruption events are crucial and useful phenomena to detect and predict the mass of supermassive black holes in quiescent galaxies.

About Blackholes:

  • A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot escape.
  • The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
  • Visibility:
    • Because no light can get out, they are invisible.
    • Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes.
    • The gasses swirling around actually help in getting their images.
  • Example: The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A.
    • It has a mass equal to about 4 million suns and would fit inside a very large ball that could hold a few million Earths.

Do Black Holes Form?

  • Scientists think the smallest black holes formed when the universe began.
  • Stellar black holes are made when the centre of a very big star falls in upon itself or collapses.
  • When this happens, it causes a supernova. A supernova is an exploding star that blasts part of the star into space.
  • Scientists think supermassive black holes were made at the same time as the galaxy they are in.

Source: DownToEarth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Recently, scientists observed the merger of giant ‘blackholes’ billions of light-years away from the earth. What is the significance of this observation? (2019)

  1. ‘Higgs boson particles’ were detected.
  2. Gravitational waves’ were detected.
  3. Possibility of intergalactic space travel through ‘wormhole’ was confirmed.
  4. It enabled the scientists to understand ‘singularity’.


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