In the constellation Virgo
700 million light-years
100 million times the mass of the Sun
Greater than the size of the asteroid belt in our solar system
This series of illustrations shows a yellow star that travels too close to a giant black hole in the center of the galaxy RX J1242-11. As it nears the black hole, itís stretched and torn apart by tidal gravity. Although a small amount of material is captured by the black hole and forms a rotating disk around it, most of the gaseous debris escapes the black hole. Gas in the disk is heated to million of degrees, so it produces X-rays, before it falls into the black hole. [ESA]
This document was last modified: March 3, 2011.