Supermassive black hole gobbled up a star in the 1980s, and high schoolers helped discover it

Astronomers have found evidence of a black hole snacking on a star in data gathered back in the 1980s, according to new research.

The researchers say that they have identified the signature of such an event in data gathered during the 1980s, thanks to a pair of high school interns from Massachusetts. When a star comes too close to a black hole, the massive object’s gravity tugs at the star, pulling matter into the black hole and producing a burst of light in what astronomers dub a tidal disruption event. And while astronomers have seen this phenomenon occur about 100 times, very few of those sightings rely on radio observations, as the 1980s event does.