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How to watch: Georgia high school football star Amarius Mims set to make college decision Wednesday on CBS Sports HQ


Amarius Mims, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive tackle from Bleckley County (Cochran, Ga.), will announce his college decision at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesday on CBS Sports HQ. The nation’s No. 6 overall high school football recruit, according to the 247Sports Composite, is picking between four Southeastern Conference schools along with Florida State.

The 247Sports experts expect Mims to stay home and chose the University of Georgia, though SEC powers Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn remain in the mix. He’s rated the No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation, behind Tommy Brockermeyer of All Saints Episcopal (Fort Worth, Texas) and ahead of JC Latham from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). …

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Astronomers Observe Star Being ‘Spaghettified’ by a Supermassive Black Hole

Artist’s impression of a star undergoing spaghettification near a supermassive black hole.

Artist’s impression of a star undergoing spaghettification near a supermassive black hole.
Image: ESO

A star 215 million light-years away has been obliterated by a supermassive black hole, making it the closest observation to date of stellar spaghettification.

Spaghettification doesn’t sound very scientific, but it’s a fairly accurate description of what actually happens.

A doomed star caught in the orbit of a supermassive black hole will eventually hit a kind of gravitational sweet spot that turns everything to shit. No longer capable of keeping its physical integrity, the star begins to rapidly collapse in a process known as a fast-evolving tidal disruption event. When this happens, stellar debris bursts out from the star, forming a long, thin stream, half of which gets sucked toward the black hole; the other half is blown back into space. The thin stream eventually catches up to and slams into itself, releasing energy and forming an accretion disc. If that’s hard to visualize, here’s a handy video showing the process:

The destruction produces a bright flash of light, which astronomers can observe on Earth. A few of these events are captured each year, but new research published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society describes the nearest case of stellar spaghettification ever recorded, at 215 million light-years away. The event, designated AT2019qiz, was chronicled last year, and it appeared at the core of a spiral galaxy located in the Eridanus constellation. The unfortunate star was roughly the same size as our Sun, and it was torn apart by a supermassive black hole roughly 1 million times the Sun’s mass.

The event was initially captured by the Zwicky Transient Facility, with follow-up observations done with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, the ESO New Technology Telescope, and Harvard & Smithsonian’s MMT Observatory, among other facilities. Astronomers tracked the fading flare for six months. The new paper was led by Matt Nicholl, a research fellow at the University of Birmingham.

Spaghettified stars tend to be hard to study because they’re often clouded by copious amounts of dust and debris. Thankfully, that was not the case with AT2019qiz.

The researchers found that, “when a black hole devours a star, it can launch a powerful blast of material outwards that obstructs our view,” explained Samantha Oates, an astronomer at the University of Birmingham, in an ESO statement. In this case, however, AT2019qiz was spotted shortly after the star was ripped apart, providing a clear view of the phenomenon.

“Because we caught it early, we could actually see the curtain of dust and debris being drawn up as the black hole launched a powerful outflow of material with velocities up to 10,000 km/s [6,200 miles/second],” said study co-author and Northwestern University astronomer Kate Alexander in a Harvard & Smithsonian press release. “This is a unique ‘peek behind the curtain’ that provided the first opportunity to pinpoint the origin of the obscuring material and

New research suggests innovative method to analyse the densest star systems in the Universe

New research suggests innovative method to analyse the densest star systems in the Universe
Artist’s illustration of supernova remnant Credit: Pixabay

In a recently published study, a team of researchers led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) at Monash university suggests an innovative method to analyse gravitational waves from neutron star mergers, where two stars are distinguished by type (rather than mass), depending on how fast they’re spinning.

Neutron stars are extremely dense stellar objects that form when giant stars explode and die—in the explosion, their cores collapse, and the protons and electrons melt into each other to form a remnant neutron star.

In 2017, the merging of two neutron stars, called GW170817, was first observed by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors. This merger is well-known because scientists were also able to see light produced from it: high-energy gamma rays, visible light, and microwaves. Since then, an average of three scientific studies on GW170817 have been published every day.

In January this year, the LIGO and Virgo collaborations announced a second neutron star merger event called GW190425. Although no light was detected, this event is particularly intriguing because the two merging neutron stars are significantly heavier than GW170817, as well as previously known double neutron stars in the Milky Way.

Scientists use gravitational-wave signals—ripples in the fabric of space and time—to detect pairs of neutron stars and measure their masses. The heavier neutron star of the pair is called the ‘primary’; the lighter one is ‘secondary’.

The recycled-slow labelling scheme of a binary neutron star system

A binary neutron star system usually starts with two ordinary stars, each around ten to twenty times more massive than the Sun. When these massive stars age and run out of ‘fuel’, their lives end in supernova explosions that leave behind compact remnants, or neutron stars. Each remnant neutron star weighs around 1.4 times the mass of the Sun, but has a diameter of only 25 kilometres.

The first-born neutron star usually goes through a ‘recycling’ process: it accumulates matter from its paired star and begins spinning faster. The second-born neutron star doesn’t accumulate matter; its spin speed also slows down rapidly. By the time the two neutron stars merge—millions to billions of years later—it’s predicted that the recycled neutron star may still be spinning rapidly, whereas the other non-recycled neutron star will probably be spinning slowly.

Another way a binary neutron star system might form is through continuously changing interactions in dense stellar clusters. In this scenario, two unrelated neutron stars, on their own or in other separate star systems, meet each other, pair up and eventually merge like a happy couple due to their gravitational waves. However, current modelling of stellar clusters suggests that this scenario is ineffective in merging the neutron stars.

OzGrav postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study Xingjiang Zhu says: ‘The motivation for proposing the recycled-slow labelling scheme of a binary neutron star system is two-fold. First, it’s a generic feature expected for neutron star mergers. Second, it might be inadequate to label two

X-Rays From Neutron Star Merger Still Persist 1,000 Days After Collision


  • In 2017, scientists detected X-rays following the collision of two neutron stars
  • It was the first time that X-rays were observed following a gamma ray burst
  • The X-rays were stil observable even 2 1/2 years after the collision
  • Scientists offer possible explanations for the X-ray emission’s strange behavior

A team of researchers can still detect lingering X-rays from a neutron star collision that happened 1,000 days prior. The prolonged X-ray emission continues to puzzle scientists.

It was on Aug. 17, 2017, when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo first detected gravitational waves from the  merger of two neutron stars. Dubbed GW 170817, the event was observed by various telescopes from all over the world within hours of the first detection.

The initial burst was followed by a short-duration gamma ray-burst (GRB) and a slower kilonova. Nine days later, scientists detected an afterglow that was visible in the electromagnetic spectrum including X-rays, something that was never observed before.

Apart from the fact that it was the first time for X-rays to be detected following a GRB, the event continued to surprise scientists by emitting X-rays for longer than expected. In the case of GW 170817, the afterglow peaked after 160 days then rapidly faded away. But even after the afterglow faded, the X-ray emissions persist even 2 1/2 years after the merger.

“This behavior is markedly different from the garden-variety GRB afterglows, observed to fade within a few minutes since the burst,” the researchers of a new study wrote.

In the study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of researchers offered possible explanations for why the X-rays lasted for as long as it did.

It’s possible, the researchers say, that it was a new feature. Because GW 170817 was relatively close, it allowed scientists to observe this feature.

It’s also possible that the kilonova that followed the jet of gamma rays had its own afterglow. And because GW 170817 is close enough, the instruments captured and detected it as well.

“We saw the kilonova, so we know this gas cloud is there, and the X-rays from its shock wave may just be reaching us,” study co-author Geoffrey Ryan of the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Astronomy said in the UMD news release. “But we need more data to understand if that’s what we’re seeing. If it is, it may give us a new tool, a signature of these events that we haven’t recognized before. That may help us find neutron star collisions in previous records of X-ray radiation.”

That said, exactly what is causing the persistent X-ray emissions remains unclear but further observations could help determine which of these possibilities are more likely to be true and,  perhaps even help detect other such neutron star mergers. 

“We are entering a new phase in our understanding of neutron stars, ” study lead Eleonora Troja of UMD said in the news release. “It may take years to find out the

Explosive neutron star collision is still emitting X-rays, puzzling astronomers


Two neutron stars colliding, generating gravitational waves and a huge, bright jet.


When two neutron stars smashed into each other, about 130 million light-years from Earth, the universe lit up. The collision, between some of the densest objects in the cosmos, produced gravitational waves and a spattering of fireworks on Aug. 17, 2017. Dozens of telescopes on Earth captured the rare merger across different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. First, there came a burst of highly energetic gamma rays, followed by bursts of light and UV, radio and infrared signals.

About nine days after the collision, NASA’s Chandra observatory picked up an X-ray signal. According to our understanding of neutron stars, it should have faded away by now. 

But in a new study, published Monday in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers have studied the neutron-star-on-neutron-star impact, designated GW170817, and discovered that 1,000 days later, the X-ray signal was still detectable.

“We really don’t know what to expect from this point forward, because all our models were predicting no X-rays,” said Eleonora Troja, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and lead author on the study, in a press release.

GW170817 is the first neutron star merger detected by the three gravitational wave observatories stationed on Earth. The triad of observatories were able to triangulate the position of the merger moments after it happened, allowing researchers to turn their telescopes to space and get a good look at the event. And it’s a violent one.

See also: These telescopes work with your phone to show exactly what’s in the sky 

Because we haven’t seen many neutron star collisions (only two have been recorded and confirmed so far), scientists have had to rely on models to predict the aftermath. For the most part, the models lined up with what was detected with GW170817. When two neutron stars collide, they release a jet of gamma rays and a huge blast of bright gas, known as a “kilonova.” Those events are transient — we see them for a few days or weeks and then they disappear. That was the case with GW170817.

But Chandra, NASA’s X-ray observatory, was still detecting X-rays at the location when it focused on the merger in February, two and a half years after it flared to life. The latest measurements show the signal has faded, but the specter of an X-ray burst is still visible and it’s a little brighter than models predicted. Why are these X-rays still visible? That’s a puzzle the researchers are trying to solve.

It may be there’s an additional component of the neutron star mergers models have not previously accounted for. Or perhaps the dynamics of the energy released in the aftermath of the collision are a little different to what we expect. An exciting possibility is that the remains of the merger represent an X-ray-emitting neutron star — though much

Scientists Watch a Black Hole Eat a Star

  • Astronomers have witnessed a tidal disruption event, where a star whose material was shredded by a nearby supermassive black hole releases an bright flash of light.
  • The TDE is helping scientists understand more about the gruesome spaghettification process.
  • The flare occurred just 215 million light-years away from Earth, closer than any other previously observed tidal disruption event.

    Astronomers have spotted a rare and radiant pulse of light—the last gasp of a dying star that has been sucked toward the center of a supermassive black hole and shredded into sinuous strings of stardust. This process is delightfully called spaghettification, but make no mistake: it’s gruesome.

    🌌 You love our badass universe. So do we. Let’s nerd out over it together.

    “When a black hole devours a star, it can launch a powerful blast of material outwards that obstructs our view,” Samantha Oates, an astronomer at the University of Birmingham, said in a statement. “This happens because the energy released as the black hole eats up stellar material propels the star’s debris outwards.”

    This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    The researchers used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and New Technology Telescope in Chile, the Las Cumbres Observatory global telescope network, and the Neil Gehrel’s Swift Satellite to monitor the flare, which they dubbed AT2019qiz. They tracked AT2019qiz for six months, making observations in optical, ultraviolet, X-ray, and radio, as it brightened and then eventually faded. The scientists published their findings in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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    At just 215 million light-years from Earth, AT2019qiz is the closest such flare ever observed. The scientists believe the star at the center of the cataclysmic event was at one point roughly the same mass as our sun. It lost about half its mass once the supermassive black hole, which is around a million times more massive than the star, began slurping it up.

    As the stellar material is pulled from the star, it begins to wrap around the black hole, surrounding it in a curtain of dust. In some cases, the swirling debris can reach speeds of up to 10,000 kilometers per second. When the material is finally devoured by the black hole, it generates a powerful flare observable to Earth’s powerful telescopes.

    The new event could provide scientists with an especially critical view of this incredibly destructive process.

    “This unique ‘peek behind the curtain’ provided the first opportunity to pinpoint the origin of the obscuring material and follow in real time how it engulfs the black hole,” Kate Alexander, a NASA Einstein Fellow at Northwestern University, said in the statement.

    Tidal disruption events like AT2019qiz are extremely rare. Scientists have only observed around 100

    Astronomers see a black hole ‘spaghettify’ a star in real time

    Artist’s impression of star being tidally disrupted by a supermassive black hole.  

    ESO/M. Kornmesser

    It’s one of those astounding events that sounds like science fiction, but is just plain science. Astronomers say they were able to capture in unprecedented detail the process of a star being ripped into strips and devoured by a black hole. 

    The powerful phenomenon caught the attention of scientists when a new blast of light near a known supermassive black hole was spotted by telescopes around the world. Months worth of follow-up observations made it clear they were seeing the destruction of a far-off sun as it happened.

    “In this case the star was torn apart with about half of its mass feeding — or accreting — into a black hole of one million times the mass of the sun, and the other half was ejected outward,” explained astronomer Edo Berger from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in a statement.  

    The violent scene is what astronomers call a tidal disruption event, which happens when a star comes too close to a black hole and gets shredded through a process of spaghettification — basically, the gravity of the black hole is so intense that it stretches whatever comes near vertically into long, thin shapes like pieces of spaghetti as it swallows it all up. 

    The event, which goes by the catalog entry AT2019qiz and is the closest such flare ever seen at just 215 million light-years away, was caught early enough that scientists have been able to get a relatively unobscured view of the cosmic carnage before a cloud of star guts pulls a veil over the region.

    “We could actually see the curtain of dust and debris being drawn up as the black hole launched a powerful outflow of material with velocities up to 10,000 km/s (22 million miles per hour),” explained Kate Alexander, a NASA Einstein Fellow at Northwestern University. “This is a unique ‘peek behind the curtain’ that provided the first opportunity to pinpoint the origin of the obscuring material and follow in real time how it engulfs the black hole.”

    A paper on the discovery was published Monday in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 

    The event is so close and clear that Berger says it will help scientists learn more about the powerful forces at work, particularly the simultaneous pull of the shredded star into the black hole and the outward explosion of material from the star. 

    “Until now, the nature of these emissions has been heavily debated, but here we see that the two regimes are connected through a single process.”

    The hope is that AT2019qiz could be a sort of Rosetta stone for studying and interpreting what black holes have for lunch in the future. One distant day, intergalactic space travelers may even give thanks that this discovery regularly allows them

    Walter Ashcraft, College Football Star and a Coach, Dies at 91

    Walter Ashcraft Jr., 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds by his early 20s, drew on his physique to excel in the Southern California sports world of the mid-20th century.

    He placed third in the 1947 California high school shot-put championships, competing for Long Beach Polytechnic, finishing two places above Bob Mathias of Tulare High School, who captured a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1948 London Olympics.

    Mr. Ashcraft also played at tackle for the University of Southern California football team. In his senior season, the Trojans, coached by Jess Hill, went 10-1, losing only to Notre Dame, and defeated Wisconsin, 7-0, in the 1953 New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game.

    The N.F.L.’s Washington Redskins drafted him in 1953, one of 15 U.S.C. players who were selected.

    He received a $5,000 signing bonus from the Redskins, but incurred a knee injury in training camp and never played in an N.F.L. game. Since pro football salaries were modest, he decided to pursue a career elsewhere.

    He obtained a master’s degree in education and devoted himself to coaching and hospitality work.

    Mr. Ashcraft died on Aug. 18 in Anderson, S.C., of pneumonia stemming from Covid-19, his family said. He was 91.

    He had been living at a military veterans’ retirement home with his wife, Betty Jo (Carrera) Ashcraft. During the Korean War, he interrupted his time at U.S.C. to enlist in the Marine Corps, played for a Marine football team in California and was discharged as a sergeant.

    Walter White Ashcraft, Jr. was born on Aug. 11, 1929, in Amory, Miss., where his father owned a gas station. One day, when he was 11 or so, his father came upon the aftermath of a lynching — three Black men hanging from a tree.

    “He couldn’t bear it, and he packed up and moved his family to California,” his son Thomas said.

    The Ashcrafts settled in Long Beach, then moved in the late 1950s to Las Vegas, where Walter Ashcraft Sr. became the chief bartender at the Desert Inn. Walter Jr. obtained his master’s degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1967, and coached football at a Las Vegas high school. He later coached track and field at a community college in Fort Pierce, Fla.

    He became a human resources official for the National Restaurant Association for whom he enhanced opportunities in the food industry for people with disabilities. Mr. Ashcraft also worked for the Florida Restaurant Association and was director of hospitality education for the state of Florida.

    In addition to his wife and his son Thomas, Mr. Ashcraft is survived by his son Adam; his sister, Mary Lopez-Fabrega; and nine grandchildren.

    “He was a voracious reader, passionate debater, sports fan, and endlessly curious and optimistic man,” his family wrote in announcing his death. “In his later years, he embraced technology, using it to communicate frequently to support his grandchildren and their many interests. He particularly enjoyed the use of emojis.”

    Mr. Ashcraft was continually cited by the Spartanburg, S.C., public library

    Astronomers capture a black hole shredding star into spaghetti strands

    • Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory observed a black hole sucking in a faraway star, shredding it into thin strands of stellar material.
    • This process, known as “spaghettification,” happens because of black holes’ powerful gravitational force.
    • At 215 million light-years away, this spaghettification process is the closest ever observed by astronomers. 
    • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

    Astronomers have captured a rarely-seen event: a flare of light caused by a black hole devouring a nearby star like spaghetti.

    Observed in the Eridanus constellation, about 215 million light-years away from Earth, the star’s destruction is the closest such event astronomers have ever observed. 

    “When an unlucky star wanders too close to a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy, the extreme gravitational pull of the black hole shreds the star into thin streams of material,” study author Thomas Wevers, a fellow at the European Southern Observatory in Santiago, Chile, said in a press release about the discovery.

    This process is called a tidal disruption event – or, more colloquially, “spaghettification,” a nod to the long, thin strands a star becomes as the black hole’s gravity stretches it thinner and thinner. 

    When these strands get sucked into the black hole, they release a powerful flare of energy that astronomers can detect, even from hundreds of millions of light-years away. 


    A screenshot taken from a video zooming in on the AT2019qiz tidal disruption event, 215 million light-years away. This phenomenon, a blast of light from a star being ripped apart by a supermassive black hole, has been studied by ESO telescopes.

    N. Risinger/ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

    The researchers studied the dying star over a six-month period, using tools including ESO’s Very Large Telescope and its New Technology Telescope, and published their findings in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    Examining spaghettification in ‘unprecedented detail’

    The research team discovered the star soon after it started getting ripped apart, and observed it through ultraviolet, optical, X-ray and radio wavelengths. The combination of the star’s proximity and timing allowed the astronomers to study it in “unprecedented detail,” according to the press release.

    Even though a spaghettifying star releases a bright energy flare, researchers have often had trouble in the past examining such flares because dust and debris obscure them. Now they know the debris comes from the spaghettification process itself.

    “We found that, when a black hole devours a star, it can launch a powerful blast of material outwards that obstructs our view,” Samantha Oates, an astronomer at the University of Birmingham and a coauthor of the study, said in the press release.

    In other words, as the black hole gobbles up the star, it releases energy that flings chunks of star-debris outwards. 

    The team also estimated the size of the dying star: It was about the mass of our own Sun, which is 2×1030 kg, or about 330,000 Earths. 

    By the end of the study period, “it lost about half of that to the monster black hole, which is over

    Astronomers witness star being “turned into spaghetti” by black hole


    Researchers found that when a star is "spaghettified" a blast of material is launched outwards (ESO)
    Researchers found that when a star is “spaghettified” a blast of material is launched outwards (ESO)

    Astronomers have witnessed the final moments of a star being devoured by a supermassive black hole – and it’s not pretty.

    A blast of light from 215 million light years away from Earth allowed astronomers to study the “tidal disruption event” in unprecedented detail. 

    Stars which wander too close to vast supermassive black holes are shredded (“spaghettified”) into thin streams of material, which are in turn devoured, releasing flashes of light. 

    Matt Nicholl, a lecturer and Royal Astronomical Society research fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK said, “The idea of a black hole ‘sucking in’ a nearby star sounds like science fiction. 

    “But this is exactly what happens in a tidal disruption event.”

    Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

    Thomas Wevers, an ESO Fellow in Santiago, Chile says, “When an unlucky star wanders too close to a supermassive black hole in the centre of a galaxy, the extreme gravitational pull of the black hole shreds the star into thin streams of material.”

    Although powerful and bright, up to now astronomers have had trouble investigating this burst of light, which is often obscured by a curtain of dust and debris. 

    The researchers say that when a black hole devours a star, it launches a powerful blast of material outwards, that can obstruct our view. 

    The researchers were able to get a clear, unobstructed view, as they caught the event extremely early. 

     “Because we caught it early, we could actually see the curtain of dust and debris being drawn up as the black hole launched a powerful outflow of material with velocities up to 10,000 km/s,” says Kate Alexander, NASA Einstein Fellow at Northwestern University in the US. 

    “This unique ‘peek behind the curtain’ provided the first opportunity to pinpoint the origin of the obscuring material and follow in real time how it engulfs the black hole.”

    Read more: What are fast radio bursts, and why do they look like aliens?

    The team carried out observations of AT 2019qiz, located in a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Eridanus, over a 6-month period as the flare grew in luminosity and then faded away.

     “Several sky surveys discovered emission from the new tidal disruption event very quickly after the star was ripped apart,” says Wevers. 

    “We immediately pointed a suite of ground-based and space telescopes in that direction to see how the light was produced.”

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