Scentists Get to Watch a Star Get Eaten By a Black Hole


A star is about to plunge head first toward a monster black hole. Astronomers are ready to watch.

….a massive star is going to take a deep plunge near a gigantic black hole in our galaxy. As it screams past the monster at terrific speed, astronomers all over the Earth will be watching it carefully to see how it behaves.

A new set of observations of the star made over the past few years as it’s been picking up speed has given astronomers the go-ahead to make precise measurements of just how the black hole’s excruciatingly fierce gravity will affect the star’s orbit. This is good news, because it means there won’t be any added complications to what will already be difficult observations.

The star is called S2 (or sometimes S0-2). It’s a bit of a bruiser, a B-type starabout 15 times more massive than the Sun. That means it’s pretty luminous, which is convenient: That makes it easier to spot from its distance of 26,000 light-years away.

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