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Artist's illustration of a black hole shredding a star. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A team of scientists using archival data has spotted a black hole shredding a star in deep space.

Why it matters: This kind of stellar sleuthing can be used to find more of these types of events and piece together the details of how galaxies evolve through time.

Details: When a star gets too close to a black hole, the massive black hole can rip the star apart.

  • A new study accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal details one of these events seen by researchers on Earth in archival data gathered in the 1980s, '90s and 2000s by radio telescopes.
  • The object, named J1533+2727, was extremely bright in the late '80s through the mid-1990s but faded by 2017, according to the research team.
  • The authors of the study think that fading was caused by the star being gobbled up by the black hole in what's known as a "tidal disruption event."

The big picture: "An unprecedented amount of radio observations are now becoming available, positioning us to discover many more sources like this one," co-author of the study Hannah Dykaar of the University of Toronto said in a statement.

  • "Interestingly, neither of the radio-discovered candidates were found in the type of galaxy most popular for TDEs. Finding more of these radio TDEs could help us to illuminate ongoing mysteries about what types of galaxies they occur in and just how many there are in the universe."

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

The Robinhood M&A rumor mill churns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood's valuation is now just over $11 billion, a fraction of where it traded in August and below that of its last private round of funding. Cue the M&A mongers.

Why it matters: It's not just Robinhood—falling values of growth-oriented tech stocks have raised speculation that formerly high-flying fintechs could be snapped up by more well-capitalized buyers.

1 hour ago - Health

Student's death renews calls for schools to stock opioid overdose drug

Photo: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Connecticut student's death has renewed calls for schools to stock and administer naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Why it matters: U.S. drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period for the first time in November, and synthetic or natural opioids were the cause of a majority of the overdoses.