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Black Holes Grow Big by Eating Stars

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf


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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:50 PM


Most galaxies, including the Milky Way, have a supermassive black hole at their center weighing millions to billions of suns. But how do those black holes grow so hefty? Some theories suggest they were born large. Others claim they grew larger over time through black hole mergers, or by consuming huge amounts of gas.

New research by astronomers at the University of Utah and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that supermassive black holes can grow big by ripping apart double-star systems and swallowing one of the stars.

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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 09 June 2012 - 01:53 PM.
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#2    Drayno


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Posted 03 April 2012 - 12:45 AM

Stars are big piles of floating gas, as Pumbaa pointed out in The Lion King.

It's just radical, imagining a black hole swallowing a star, ripping it apart, and growing from its gas.

It's just inconceivable to the human mind, what that would look like. I just can't even begin to describe the spectacle.

Edited by Drayno, 03 April 2012 - 12:49 AM.

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#3    space11498


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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:55 AM

Now I am afraid.If black holes are eating machines ,then will it grow in size and consume our star in some 10-20 billion years?

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#4    sepulchrave


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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

View Postspace11498, on 04 April 2012 - 10:55 AM, said:

Now I am afraid.If black holes are eating machines ,then will it grow in size and consume our star in some 10-20 billion years?
It is not very likely.

From the wiki, the Milky way consists of about 1.5 x 1012 solar masses. If the black hole ate all of that, it would have an event horizon radius of about 4.4 x 1012 km, this is only about 0.02% of a light year. The Earth is at least 20 000 light years from the centre of the Milky Way.

#5    pallidin


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:21 AM

Well, not being disrespectful, but I personally don't care what might happen in 10-20 billion years from now; except that someone will keep mowing my lawn.

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