Scary Barbie Unleashed: The Terrifying Black Hole

3rd May 2023
Scary Barbie Unleashed: The Terrifying Black Hole

In the vast expanse of space, where celestial phenomena abound, there is one entity that captures the imagination like no other: the black hole. These enigmatic cosmic monsters possess an irresistible allure: they devour anything that ventures too close. In a recent discovery, astronomers have stumbled upon an extraordinary black hole, aptly nicknamed “Scary Barbie.”

Why is it called Scary Barbie?

No need to say it has nothing in common with Barbie dolls or recent Barbie movie. Its nickname was made by appending its randomly assigned alphanumeric name, ZTF20abrbeie, with reference to its frightening power – its ability to annihilate a star in the brightest way possible. This celestial spectacle provides a unique opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of black holes and witness their terrifying power.

Discovering Scary Barbie black hole

Scary Barbie black hole was first observed by a team of astrophysicists using the Hubble Space Telescope.

What set this black hole apart was its interaction with a nearby star, resulting in an intense and captivating display.

As the star ventured too close to the event horizon, the point of no return, it triggered a cataclysmic event known as a tidal disruption.

A terrifying black hole

During the tidal disruption, Scary Barbie unleashed an awe-inspiring burst of energy, illuminating the surrounding cosmic neighbourhood like a celestial firework show. The violent forces at play caused the star’s material to stretch and deform, creating a luminous accretion disk — a swirling disk of gas and dust — around the black hole.

As the material spiralled inward, friction heated it to extreme temperatures, releasing a tremendous amount of energy in the form of light.

Why does this display of power matter?

Scary Barbie black hole’s flamboyant display of power is significant for several reasons. 

Firstly, it provides scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to study the physics of black holes in action. By closely examining the radiation emitted by Scary Barbie, astronomers can gain insights into the nature of black holes and their feeding habits. 

Additionally, the event sheds light on the cosmic interplay between black holes and their surroundings. It has helped to unravel the intricate dance of destruction and creation that occurs in the depths of the universe.

How far is the Scary Barbie black hole?

The light emitted by Scary Barbie originated from a distant sector of the Universe, located about 7.7 billion years from us. That’s why astronomers had no chance to spot the event directly.

Thanks to an extensive dataset accumulated by computer-guided telescopes, scientists discovered a distant entity — an incredibly luminous burst of light persisting for over two years. The data showed that Scary Barbie was born in the final death throes of a star torn apart by a supermassive black hole.

So, how much bigger than a normal supernova is Scary Barbie?

Scary Barbie, as it turns out, outshines even supernovae, renowned as the brightest objects in space.

“This is absurd. If you take a typical supernova and multiply it by a thousand times, we still wouldn’t understand how bright it (Scary Barbie – Ed.) is – and supernovae are among the brightest objects in the sky,” said Dan Milisavljevic, co-author of the study and associate professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University.

The scientist added that this is the “most energetic phenomenon” he has ever encountered.

Implications for Astrophysics

The observation of the black hole “Scary Barbie” opens new avenues for astrophysical research. By studying the emissions from this tidal disruption, scientists can refine existing models and theories about black hole behavior. 

The data obtained from such events enables researchers to probe the fundamental properties of black holes, such as their mass, spin, and magnetic fields. These findings are vital in advancing our understanding of the universe and its myriad wonders.

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