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TESS Catches its First Star-destroying Black Hole

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For the first time, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) watched a black hole tear apart a star from start to finish, a cataclysmic phenomenon called a tidal disruption event. The blast, named ASASSN-19bt, was found on Jan. 29 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), a worldwide network of 20 robotic telescopes. Shortly after the discovery, ASAS-SN requested follow-up observations by NASA’s Swift satellite, ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) XMM-Newton and ground-based 1-meter telescopes in the global Las Cumbres Observatory network. The disruption occurred in TESS’s continuous viewing zone, which is always in sight of one of the...
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