In November 2014, the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASASSN) spotted something new. Follow up observations showed this was no ordinary event. Through cooperation with several other agencies, a team of astronomers led by Jon Miller were able to identify it as a rare event: they had caught a black hole in the act of ripping up a passing star.

Archived images form past missions did not have an x-ray source in that location, but Miller was able to quickly get observations from the Swift space telescope to confirm the source that ASASSN spotted. Recognizing this as a new and unusual object, the XMM_Newton and Chandra x-ray observatory teams were willing to quickly get more images of this new source. What they found was a rare chance to observe what happens as a black hole shreds a star. More than 20 astronomers participated in the research, including several current and former members of Michigan Astronomy.

NASA created an animation of the event, which you can view on YouTube.

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or read the original publication in Nature (access to Nature Journals may be required)