Lighting Up Supermassive Black Holes: What Happens When a Star Venture Too Close to a Monster

Smadar Naoz Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy /UCLA

Almost every galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole at its heart with a mass between a million to a billion solar masses. Surrounding these monsters are dense environments of stars and stellar remnants. When a star ventures too close to one of these monsters, it is torn apart, potentially lighting up the darkest places in our Universe. I will talk about what are supermassive black holes, how a star finds itself so close to such a monster, and what happens when it does.