Watch What Happens When a Black Hole Swallows a Star

It’s not clean, that’s for sure.

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Oct 22 2015, 3:15pm

It's been about a year since Interstellar, but if you're still looking for black holes ripping things apart, NASA has you covered. The Goddard Space Flight Center published an artist's rendition of what happens when a star gets close enough to a black hole to get eaten up.

As you can see, it's not so much a ripping apart as it is a vacuum; when the star comes in contact with the hole's tidal forces—its gravitational fields—stellar material just funnels off until the entire body just disappears. It's not a clean process though; the remaining gas and dust just swirls around the star in what's called an accretion disk.

Meanwhile, you'll also see bright particle jets eject from the black hole's event horizon, the point at which supposedly no matter can return. Why those jets happen remains a mystery to researchers, but they're known to spew out near the speed of light from supermassive black holes.

Just another daily reminder that while our lives remain infinitesimal, black holes aren't perfect vacuums; things escape, and the radiation resulting from stars being swallowed can last can last a few years.