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If a star (red trail) wanders too close to a black hole (left), it can be shredded, or spaghettified, by the intense gravity. Some of the star’s matter swirls around the black hole, like water down a drain, emitting copious X-rays (blue). Recent studies of these so-called tidal disruption events suggest that a significant fraction of the star’s gas is also blown outward by intense winds from the black hole, in some cases creating a cloud that obscures the accretion disk and the high-energy events happening within.

If a star (red trail) wanders too close to a black hole (left), it can be shredded, or spaghettified, by the intense gravity. Some of the star’s matter swirls around the black hole, like water down a drain, emitting copious X-rays (blue). Recent studies of these so-called tidal disruption events suggest that a significant fraction of the star’s gas is also blown outward by intense winds from the black hole, in some cases creating a cloud that obscures the accretion disk and the high-energy events happening within. (Image credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss)