A tidal disruption event is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when a star gets sufficiently close to a supermassive black hole’s event horizon and is pulled apart by the black hole’s tidal forces, experiencing spaghettification.
Two New Tidal Disruption Events Discovered
In two recently published scientific papers, an international team of astronomers has presented the detection of two new tidal disruption events (TDEs). Using the Palomar Observatory located near San Diego, California, the researchers discovered flares of radiation which turned out to be TDEs. Their findings were described in papers published online March 2 and 3 on the arXiv pre-print server.
TDEs are astronomical phenomena which occur when a star passes close enough to a supermassive black hole and is pulled apart by the black hole’s tidal forces, causing the process of disruption. Such tidally disrupted stellar debris starts raining down on the black hole and radiation emerges from the innermost region of accreting debris, which is an indicator of the presence of a TDE.
The newly found TDEs were spotted on May 29 and Aug. 29, 2016 and designated iPTF16axa and iPTF16fnl respectively. A series of follow-up observations using NASA’s Swift space observatory and ground-based telescopes was also conducted to gain insights into the evolution of these two events.
For astronomers and astrophysicists, TDEs are potentially important probes of strong gravity and accretion physics, providing answers about the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes.
Fast Radio Bursts could be Evidence of Advanced Alien Technology Harvard Physicists say
Mysterious flashes could be alien spacecraft at work, Harvard scientists say.
A newly published research suggests that mysterious phenomena called fast radio bursts could be evidence of advanced alien technology. Specifically, these bursts might be leakage from planet-sized transmitters powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.
“Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven’t identified a possible natural source with any confidence,” said theorist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.”
As the name implies, fast radio bursts are millisecond-long flashes of radio emission. First discovered in 2007, fewer than two dozen have been detected by gigantic radio telescopes like the Parkes Observatory in Australia or the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. They are inferred to originate from distant galaxies, billions of light-years away.
Researchers at the Harvard University examined the feasibility of creating a radio transmitter strong enough for it to be detectable across such immense distances.
They found that, if the transmitter were solar powered, the sunlight falling on an area of a planet twice the size of the Earth would be enough to generate the needed energy. Such a vast construction project is well beyond our technology, but within the realm of possibility according to the laws of physics.