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Pancake detonation of stars by black holes in galactic nuclei


Recent efforts to understand exotic phenomena in galactic nuclei commonly postulate the presence of a massive black hole accreting gas produced by tidal or collisional disruption of stars. For black holes in the mass range 104–107 M, individual stars penetrating well inside the Roche radius will undergo compression to a short-lived pancake configuration very similar to that produced by a high velocity symmetric collision of the kind likely to occur in the neighbourhood of black holes in the higher mass range 109 M. Thermonuclear energy release ensuing in the more extreme events may be sufficient to modify substantially the working of the entire accretion process.

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Carter, B., Luminet, J. Pancake detonation of stars by black holes in galactic nuclei. Nature 296, 211–214 (1982).

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