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Astronomers see a black hole ‘spaghettify’ a star in real time

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Artist’s impression of star being tidally disrupted by a supermassive black hole.  


ESO/M. Kornmesser

It’s one of those astounding events that sounds like science fiction, but is just plain science. Astronomers say they were able to capture in unprecedented detail the process of a star being ripped into strips and devoured by a black hole. 

The powerful phenomenon caught the attention of scientists when a new blast of light near a known supermassive black hole was spotted by telescopes around the world. Months worth of follow-up observations made it clear they were seeing the destruction of a far-off sun as it happened.

“In this case the star was torn apart with about half of its mass feeding — or accreting — into a black hole of one million times the mass of the sun, and the other half was ejected outward,” explained astronomer Edo Berger from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in a statement.  

The violent scene is what astronomers call a tidal disruption event, which happens when a star comes too close to a black hole and gets shredded through a process of spaghettification — basically, the gravity of the black hole is so intense that it stretches whatever comes near vertically into long, thin shapes like pieces of spaghetti as it swallows it all up. 

The event, which goes by the catalog entry AT2019qiz and is the closest such flare ever seen at just 215 million light-years away, was caught early enough that scientists have been able to get a relatively unobscured view of the cosmic carnage before a cloud of star guts pulls a veil over the region.

“We

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LSU Falls Out of the AP Top 25 for the First Time Since 2017

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College football’s defending national champion, the LSU Tigers are out of the AP’s Top 25. After losing to a previously winless Missouri 45-41 on Saturday. The Tigers have fallen to a 1-2 record and are out of the rankings for the first time since 2017. The last defending national champion to be unranked happened 9 years ago with Auburn following Cam Newton’s departure.

LSU lost their star QB Joe Burrow – who was drafted number one overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by The Cincinnati Bengals. Despite Number 17 LSU’s drop, some schools have held steady at the top of the rankings. Clemson remains in the No. 1 spot, with Alabama at No. 2 and Georgia at No. 3. This will now set up an interesting top-three matchup on Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts the Bulldogs.

The top 5 unranked schools fighting for a spot are Marshal, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, TCU and UCF.

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LSU drops out of college football poll for first time since 2017; Quakes fall

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LSU is out of the Associated Press college football poll for the first time since 2017 and is the first defending national champion to drop from the rankings in nine years.

No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia held steady at the top of the rankings Sunday, setting up a top-three matchup Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts the Bulldogs.

Clemson received 59 first-place votes. Alabama got two and Georgia one. Notre Dame moved up to No. 4 and North Carolina is No. 5.

LSU dropped out from No. 17 after falling to 1-2 with a 45-41 loss at previously winless Missouri. The Tigers had been ranked in 43 straight polls, dating to Nov. 5, 2017. That was the seventh-longest active streak in the nation.


The last defending national champion to be unranked was Auburn in 2011. Following Cam Newton’s departure the Tigers spent much of the ’11 season outside the Top 25, finishing 8-5 and unranked.

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Earthquakes lose

3-0 at Portland

Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored two goals shortly after halftime and the host Portland Timbers won their fifth straight match with a 3-0 victory over the Earthquakes.

Felipe Mora added a late goal for Portland (9-4-3), which is tied with the defending champion Seattle Sounders atop the West.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Quakes, who were coming off a 3-0 win at home Wednesday over Vancouver. The winning streak lifted San Jose (5-7-5) into the playoff picture.

• In other MLS games, Lee Nguyen had a goal and an assist to become the first player with 50 career goals and assists for New England in the visiting Revolution’s 2-1 victory over New York City FC. … Jamiro Monteiro and Sergio Santos scored in a nine-minute span and the host Philadelphia Union beat

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GOP could lose control of University of Colorado Board of Regents for the first time in 4 decades

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The University of Colorado Board of Regents is due for some new blood in 2020 with three positions up for election.

One contentious race has the potential to flip the board majority from Republican to Democrat for the first time since the 1970s. Regardless of party, the nine-member board hasn’t had three newcomers at once since 2008.

“Three new regents on a board of nine is a good challenge in terms of how they become part of the team, who they see as their constituents and dealing with all of the important issues moving forward,” said Glen Gallegos, R-Grand Junction, who serves as board chair.

The regents serve staggered six-year terms. One is elected from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts and two are elected from the state at large. The board is responsible for governing the four-campus, multibillion-dollar university system, making decisions about how CU spends money and who should be selected as university president when the time comes.

Democrat Callie Rennison, Republican Dick Murphy and Libertarian Christian Vernaza will be facing off in the Democratic stronghold of District 2 to replace incumbent Linda Shoemaker.

Democrat Nolbert Chavez is running unopposed for outgoing Democrat Irene Griego’s seat in District 7.

The District 6 race — covering a wide swath of the north, east and south Denver area — is garnering the most attention, with Republican Richard Murray, Democrat Ilana Spiegel and Unity candidates Christopher Otwell and Robert Worthey competing to replace outgoing John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch.

“The big issue is will the political control of the board flip from Republican to Democrat?” said Ken McConnellogue, CU system spokesman.

CU is one of just a handful of universities in the nation whose governing boards are chosen through partisan political elections. The board has long been criticized for its partisan nature,

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Mike Leach’s offense shut out for first time in his career as Kentucky routs Mississippi State

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Just two weeks after Mississippi Sate coach Mike Leach burst onto the SEC scene in record-breaking fashion in a win over defending national champion LSU, Leach’s pirate ship hit an iceberg on Saturday in a 24-2 loss at Kentucky. Mississippi State’s two points were the fewest ever scored by one of Leach’s teams in his 19 years as a coach.

Leach’s first team at Washington State in 2012 was held to single-digits four times but always mustered at least six points. His first team at Texas Tech in 2000 scored three points in its lowest output during a loss to No. 1 Nebraska.

Things got so dire for the Bulldogs in the second half that Leach benched Stanford graduate transfer quarterback K.J. Costello, the hero of the of the LSU victory, in favor of true freshman Will Rogers. Neither found any success against the Wildcats, however, as Kentucky intercepted six passes. Costello threw four interceptions while Rogers tossed two as Kentucky followed the blueprint that Arkansas established in a win over Mississippi State last week by frequently dropping eight defenders into zone coverage.

Mississippi State outgained the Wildcats 295-157 for the game as the teams combined for just 452 total yards. By comparison, Alabama and Ole Miss combined for 644 total yards just in the first half of their game Saturday. After consecutive losses to Arkansas and Kentucky, things are set to get even more difficult for Mississippi State. Next up is a game against No. 21 Texas A&M, which beat No. 4 on Florida on Saturday. Then after a bye week, the Bulldogs play No. 2 Alabama on the road.

“We’re going to have to check our group and see who really wants to play here,” Leach told reporters after the game.

If there was a bright

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