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'Supermassive black holes' may have destroyed three stars

New research suggests that three stars may have been completely destroyed by "supermassive black holes" in the centers of galaxies.

Scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences studied data from ROSAT and XMM-Newton, two observatories that gathered information on black holes. ROSAT orbited from 1990 to 1999, until XMM-Newton took its place. Together, the satellites provided information about what the researchers speculate may be "the total destruction of stars" by black holes. The research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal.

According to Phys.org, black holes can "fully absorb the captured matter of a destroyed star" in just a few years' time, and the satellites used X-ray data to detect at least three destroyed stars, using data collected in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to the stars detected, new data has found that stars' destruction near black holes in the same galaxy happens roughly once every 30,000 years.

The researchers plan to debut the new observatory Spectrum-X-Gamma in 2016 to further examine the effects of "supermassive black holes" on their surroundings.