Super-massive black hole shreds a star, first time caught on camera

A stunning cosmic jet from a super-massive black hole which shredded then swallowed a star has been captured by astronomers for the first time.

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The rare event - one of the most powerful forces in the universe - shows streams of plasma pouring out of the ghostly space monster at the centre of a far off galaxy almost four billion light years from Earth.

The onset of such a spectacular display caused by stellar debris being consumed by the hole has never been observed before.

Known scientifically as 'relativistic jets', they can reach hundreds of thousands of light years in length.

Most galaxies have super-massive black holes - regions of space that suck in everything nearby with their strong gravitation pull - at their core, with masses of millions or even billions of suns.

The destruction of the star was spotted by the Swift Telescope in March after it wandered too close to the huge black hole.

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