Artist conception of a tidal disruption event (TDE) that happens when a star passes fatally close to a supermassive black hole, which reacts by launching a relativistic jet. Image credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF. Hi-res image
Astronomers, working on a project to detect supernovas, made a surprise discovery when they found that one supernova explosion was actually a star being pulled apart by a supermassive black hole. ASTRON’s Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope was involved in the observations.