Spaghettification is the deformation of a body into long, thin strips due to tidal forces as the body passes through a powerful gravitational field. Image from wikipedia:

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Stellar spaghetti has been indirectly observed as the spaghetti flared on entry into a black hole according to this news article. In this case, half of a star was spaghettified and consumed by the black hole in a spiral galaxy in the Eridanus constellation.

Question: Can stellar spaghetti ever escape the gravitational field that shaped it? Or is it always doomed to be consumed or bound to orbit around the more massive object?

  • $\begingroup$ You might also want to check out the comet dust trails around the Sun. $\endgroup$ Jun 1 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ The comet dust trails that surround the orbits of comets can periodically encounter Jupiter or Saturn, which may cause it to be ejected, but this is just a planetary version of it. Perhaps if there is a less massive SMBH orbiting the larger one, maybe it can be ejected out of or sent somewhere else in the galaxy. $\endgroup$ Jun 2 at 12:59

A spaghettified object may escape; indeed, this is fairly common. The reason is that most objects approaching a black hole do it freely falling along hyperbolic orbits that swing by and then go back out to infinity (unless the closest distance is just a few Schwarzschild-radii out - then it may plunge in).

When it passes the tidal radius it begins to be pulled apart, but much of the mass will remain moving close together and reassemble once it is past the hole, or at least escape it as a hot cloud. However, there will be a lot of gas that form an accreting debris disk around the hole. This gas will experience drag as it interacts with itself, losing energy and hence spiralling inwards. See this page for nice simulations, in particular this video.

In fact, losing a lot of mass can produce a kick to the star that makes it escape.


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