illustration of black hole with bright white accretion disk around it; a spiral in the disk goes off to the right. The disk and spiral are redder as they go farther from black hole

Stellar Science

Is This Gamma-Ray Burst a Shredded Star in Disguise?

Is GRB 191019A a typical burst of gamma rays from a dying star, an anomalously long burst from colliding objects, or something else entirely?

white flare of light at left gives rise to spiral jet going off to the right

Stellar Science

Astronomers Find a Brilliant Explosion That Just Keeps On Exploding

A brilliant flash of blue light briefly outshined its host galaxy before fading away — but then it exploded again and again, shedding light on the nature of its source.

black hole shredding star

Black Holes

Shredded Star Reveals Elusive Middle-Mass Black Hole

Astronomers have used the death of a star to uncover details about a hidden intermediate-mass black hole.

Tidal disruption event

Black Holes

Star-shredding Black Hole Makes Ghostlike Particle

A single high-energy neutrino may shed light on a star being swallowed by a supermassive black hole some 690 million light-years away.

Location of AT2018cow

Stellar Science

Celestial Event Dubbed "The Cow" Puzzles Astronomers

Astronomers can't agree on what kind of strange stellar death created a brilliant source dubbed "the Cow."

tidal disruption event illustration

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Black Hole Destroys Star and Shoots Jet

Astronomers have watched the growth of a jet fueled by a shredded star.

Zwicky Transient Facility first light image in Orion

Professional Telescopes

Sky-sweeping Telescope Sees First Light

The Zwicky Transient Facility has taken its first image, covering an area equivalent to 247 full Moons in a single shot. This beginning is part of an ongoing sea change in astronomy.

Decade-long tidal disruption event

Black Holes

Black Hole Feeds on Star for a Decade

Unlucky stars serve as brilliant but short-lived snacks when they wander too close to supermassive black holes. But one such black hole is still gnawing on its stellar meal after a decade.

Black Holes

Milky Way’s Black Hole Is Throwing Cosmic Spitballs

Every now and then, the Milky Way’s central, supermassive black hole tears apart a star and flings away some of its innards. Now astronomers think they know how to spot these cosmic spitballs.