NASA has given us another historic glimpse into the wonders of space after releasing a video that shows a star-shredding black hole in a galaxy millions of light-years away.
The amazing footage of the “cataclysmic phenomenon” was taken by NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.
Astronomers think the supermassive black hole weighs around 6 million times the sun’s mass and is located about 375 million light-years away in a galaxy of similar size to the Milky Way, NASA said.
The incredible event, called a tidal disruption, is very rare and occurs once every 10,000 to 100,000 years in galaxies like the Milky Way.
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When a star gets too close, the intense tides of a black hole break apart the star into a stream of gas, according to NASA. As shown in the video, the tail of that stream breaks away from the black hole while other parts of it swing back around and create a halo of debris.
Scientists believe the star in the video may have been about the same size as our sun.
The event, named ASASSN-19bt, was first discovered on Jan. 29 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae telescope network, a worldwide network of 24 robotic telescopes headquartered at Ohio State University.
NASA says that scientists have only been able to observe about 40 tidal disruptions in history and TESS was able to capture one after launching in April 2018.
“For TESS to observe (the event) so early in its tenure, and in the continuous viewing zone where we could watch it for so long, is really quite extraordinary,” said Padi Boyd, TESS project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
“Future collaborations with observatories around the world and in orbit will help us learn even more about the different outbursts that light up the cosmos.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NASA’s TESS Mission camera captures black hole tearing apart a star