Black Holes are Tearing Apart Thousands of Stars at a Time

via Universe Today

At the heart of the more massive galaxies in the Universe, there are supermassive black holes (SMBHs) so powerful that they outshine all of the stars in their galactic disks. The core regions of these galaxies are known as Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), or by their more popular-moniker “quasars.” The ongoing study of these objects has provided a testbed for General Relativity and revealed a great deal about the formation and evolution of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the Universe.

If there’s one thing astronomers have observed repeatedly, it is the fact that these massive black holes have massive appetites. In fact, a new survey of over 100 galaxies by the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory has shown that some supermassive black holes can consume stars by the thousands! These results indicate that some SMBHs needed to consume amounts of stellar matter rarely (if ever) seen in the Universe to grow and reach the sizes that astronomers see today.

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