May 17, 2022

Stars sped up by black holes may outshine supernovae when they collide

Stars sped up by black holes may outshine supernovae when they collide
Stars sped up by black holes may outshine supernovae when they collideStars sped up by black holes may outshine supernovae when they collide
Black hole

Black holes can accelerate stars to near the speed of light

Vladimir Arndt / Alamy

Stars that collide after being sped up by orbiting close to supermassive black holes may be so bright they rival the most powerful supernovae, some of the brightest phenomena in the cosmos. Studying these cosmic crashes could help us learn about the universe’s most massive black holes and their environments.

Near the most massive black holes, stars are expected to move close to the speed of light without getting shredded by their enormous hosts’ gravity. But that doesn’t mean they …