"Astronomers have made cases for stars being torn apart by supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies before, but this is the first good evidence for such an event in a globular cluster," said Jimmy Irwin of the University of Alabama who led the study.
Using X-ray data from NASA's Chandra space telescope and optical data from the Magellan I and II telescopes in Las Campanas, Chile, Irwin and his colleagues were able to study an abnormally bright X-ray emission in the globular cluster.
This is known as an "ultraluminous X-ray source" (or ULX for short). By analyzing the ULX, the team was able to work out that a white dwarf had been shredded by the extreme tidal forces of a black hole and the material was being eaten by the black hole.
The observations suggest oxygen is in abundance, but there is a deficiency in hydrogen, suggesting that the material was being stripped from an old, white dwarf star. (The lack of hydrogen shows that the stellar object has burnt up its fuel, indicating the butchered star did not belong in the Main Sequence.)