This artist’s illustration shows the white dwarf star (on the left) when it is nearing the point of closest approach, and is being stretched by the strong gravity of the black hole (on the far right). NASA/CXC/M. Weiss Advertisement If you get into a cage match with a black hole, well, it won’t be pretty. That’s one of the universe’s defining traits – black holes have such an immense gravitational pull that they can swallow stars whole. Except, one lucky star managed to escape a black hole’s wrath, at least for a moment. A report from the March issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society detailed how this red giant star, located in galaxy GSN 069 (about 250 million light-years from Earth), roamed just a little too close to a supermassive black hole and became ensnared in its grasp. Unlike most stars, it managed to escape the black hole’s full embrace. Still, the black hole’s immense mass (about 400,000 times that of our sun) and gravitational pull has caused the star to be stuck in an elliptical orbit around it. Originally a red giant, the star’s hydrogen-rich outer layers have been stripped by the black hole, leaving… Read full this story
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