Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects.
Astronomers were surprised to see these data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in January 2013, showing a huge eruption of dust around a star called NGC 2547-ID8. In this plot, infrared brightness is represented on the vertical axis, and time on the horizontal axis.
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)
WISE is mapping the entire sky in infrared light, uncovering the coolest stars, the universe's most luminous galaxies and some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids and comets.
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