The black hole, located inside the Milky Way galaxy, is also among the smallest known to science.
An expert tells Newsweek about how long it takes these cosmic behemoths to die, why they're here, and what we're trying to figure out about them.
"We're seeing two supermassive black holes, a larger one with 200 million solar masses [more than the sun] and a smaller companion weighing half as much," the NASA astrophysicist said.
Some black holes are truly monstrous in size, but even a small one on Earth would be enough to end life as we know it.
Scientists spotted the star being ripped apart by a black hole millions of light-years from Earth.
We detected a very unusual signal, it was more like a bang. The signal was at such a low frequency that we knew that if it were a binary black hole, it must be really massive.
"This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe," said researcher Peter Predehl.
"The flash was so powerful that it lit up the stream like a Christmas tree," said researcher Andrew Fox.
The black hole forms part of a triple star system known as HR 6819, which can be seen without binoculars or telescopes from the southern hemisphere on a dark, clear night.
Observations from NASA's Hubble telescope show these outflows contain, on average, 10 times more energy than previously thought.
"We've seen outbursts in the centers of galaxies before, but this one is really, really massive," researcher Melanie Johnston-Hollitt said.
"Up until now, such a concentration of three supermassive black holes had never been discovered in the universe," Peter Weilbacher, from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, said.
A typical gamma ray burst lasting seconds or minutes produces about the same energy as our sun does over the course of its entire multi-billion-year lifecycle.
Black holes are dead stars that, after exploding as supernovae, have so much mass that nothing can hold them together, causing them to collapse into a singularity.
Five years ago scientists proposed the hypothetical existence of a large world tens of millions of miles from the Sun, which has come to be known as "Planet Nine."
"Simulations and movies like these really help us visualize what Einstein meant when he said that gravity warps the fabric of space and time," the creator of the images said.
The star, named J0740+6620, has a mass more than two times that of our sun, but is just 18 miles wide.
Astronomers found a "runaway star," dubbed PG 1610+062, in the outer halo of the Milky Way.
Researchers detected gravitational waves—ripples in space-time—emanating from a cataclysmic event around 900 million light years away.
IceCube searches for neutrinos—invisible, nearly massless subatomic particles which rarely ever interact with normal matter.
The Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is a space observatory that's designed to collect X-ray light data from extreme phenomena.
The idea of wormholes was predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity in 1916.
Scientists think that at the heart of nearly every galaxy lies a supermassive black hole (SMBH) with immense gravity.
Researchers say they have detected remnants of a universe that existed before our own.
This is the first time astronomers have directly imaged the brutal phenomenon.
The broadcast will "create a link" between Hawking's presence on Earth, his desire to visit space and his scientific explorations of the universe, his daughter said.
Last year's collision was the first in which scientists could actually see what was happening during and after the collision.