Do stars disappear into their own black holes? A bizarre binary system says ‘yes’

a spotted blue star shines bright, emanating its light across space as a small black sphere in its lower right corner intrudes on its reality.

Scientists have found strong evidence that some massive stars end their existence with a whimper, not a bang, and sink into one black hole of their own making without the light and fury of one supernova.

To understand why this is important, we need to start with a crash course in stellar evolution. Stars generate energy nuclear fusion processes in their nuclei that turn hydrogen into helium. When stars with at least eight times the mass of our sun When the hydrogen supply runs out, they start fusion reactions involving other elements – helium, carbon, oxygen, and so on, until they end up with an inert core of iron that requires more energy to put into the fusion reaction than is possible. produce. At this stage, fusion reactions cease and the production of energy that sustains the star evaporates. Suddenly, gravity takes over and causes the core to collapse, while the outer layers of the star bounce off the contracting core and explode outward – creating a supernova that, for a few weeks, can sometimes shine brighter than an entire star . universe.

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