This Is What it Looks Like When a Black Hole Shreds a Star

When a star wanders too close to a black hole, immense gravitational forces begin to rip it apart in an epic cosmic slaying called a “tidal disruption event.” Some of the star’s mass is flung outward into space, while the rest is drawn in, triggering a powerful flare that showers the sky with x-rays. »10/22/15 3:20pm10/22/15 3:20pm

A New Mission Will Search for Ripples in Spacetime

In the distant reaches of the Universe, exploding stars and supermassive black holes are bending the very fabric of spacetime. It’s hard to wrap our brains around such tremendous forces, but we may be able to quantify them, in the form of gravitational waves. A new European Space Agency mission marks humanity’s first… »9/03/15 4:40pm9/03/15 4:40pm

This Shower of Gamma Rays Is from a Flaring Blazar 5 Billion Years Ago

Five billion years ago, a blazar abruptly flared, triggered an intense rain of gamma rays. Racing across the universe for millennia, they finally slammed into NASA’s Fermi satellite over several days this June, setting a new record for the most luminous high-energy object we’ve ever seen. »7/11/15 1:39pm7/11/15 1:39pm

Black Hole Emits Ferocious Winds With the Energy of a Trillion Suns

A black hole and its galaxy are locked in a cosmic struggle, evolving in tandem and balancing each other's growth. In this artist's recreation, you can see cosmic winds howling out of supermassive black hole PDS 456. These winds are so strong that they prevent the galaxy from forming new stars. »2/19/15 8:17pm2/19/15 8:17pm

Here's Why Small Black Holes Are More Dangerous Than Big Ones

If you were going to travel close to a black hole in order to study it, which type should you choose? Most people would probably pick a smaller black hole, because it seems easier to avoid. But that's a fatal mistake. Small black holes can be far more dangerous than big ones, due to a terrifying process called… »1/27/15 2:00pm1/27/15 2:00pm