26/06/2015 08:53 BST | Updated 26/06/2015 08:59 BST

Monster Black Hole Wakes Up After 26 Years And Devours Star

While scanning the Milky Way galaxy, the European Space Agency has spotted unusually large outbursts of high-energy light.

As it turns out, a black hole has just woken up after a 23-year long nap and is devouring a companion star.

An artist's impression of the astronomical feast shows a beautiful purple disc forming as material from the star flows towards the black hole that is 12 times bigger than the sun.

As this material spirals towards the centre, inching closer towards the hungry hole, it is heated up and emit ultra violet and X-ray wavelengths.


Some of this material shoots out at a right angle to the disc, making the whole interaction look like something out of Star Wars' opening credits.

"The behaviour of this source is extraordinary at the moment, with repeated bright flashes of light on time scales shorter than an hour, something rarely seen in other black hole systems," said Erik Kuulkers, Integral project scientist at ESA.

These burst of light first started on 15 June, the first time since 1989. Astronomers believed the spike in activity is due to a build up of material in the disc that eventually causes a change in the way the black hole feeds on its companion stars.