Scientists first became intrigued on March 28 by a long-lasting flash of high-energy gamma ray radiation burst from 3.8 billion light-years away.  Now, they think they’ve determined the source of it, namely a star swallowed and shredded by a monster black hole.

Black holes are regions of space that sucks in everything nearby with hits strong gravitation pull.  It’s believed that they’re formed by an extremely compact concentration of mass at the center. 

Scientists say the star, about the mass of the sun, wondered too close to the black hole in its orbit.  It was then violently pulled in and shredded apart in the process.  While swallowing the star, the black hole emitted the long-lasting gamma ray.

This particular black hole wasn’t very active, scientists say, meaning it wasn’t devouring too much mass.  Then, it went on a “sudden feeding frenzy” when the unfortunate star strayed near it, said astronomer Joshua Bloom, reported the National Geographic.

The swallowing of a star by a black hole is a rare event.  Scientists believe it only happens once every one hundred million years in a galaxy, reported the National Geographic.

Now, the black hole is believed to be even more powerful because of the additional mass from the swallowed star.  Scientists believe that the absorption of large mass, such as stars or even other black holes, is what possibly gives black holes growth and spawn the existence of supermassive black holes.   

Supermassive black holes could contain up to billions of solar masses.  For comparison’s sake, the sun is just 1 solar mass and the earth is 1/332,950th of a solar mass.