By Cole Premo

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a rare, first-time discovery, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was able to watch a black hole shred apart a distant star from the moment it began.

The event, called a tidal disruption event, happens only once in every 10,000 to 100,000 years in the galaxy the size of our Milky Way.

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3D Render Of The Tidal Disruption Event (credit: NASA)

Further observations by NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and other facilities have produced the most detailed look yet at the early moments of one of these star-destroying occurrences.

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Black holes, while integral to life cycles of galaxies, are very difficult to study. Thanks to this discovery and coordination by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae, and other missions, astrophysics are a step closer to understanding mysterious black holes.

WCCO Digital Producer Cole Premo interviewed NASA Scientist Dr. Knicole Colon about the discovery and what it means for humanity.

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Watch the video above for more.