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Black Holes Take Space And Time Into Their Own Hands

27 Sep 2019, 05:45 UTC
Black Holes Take Space And Time Into Their Own Hands
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The visualization simulates the appearance of a black hole where infalling matter has collected into a thin, hot structure called an accretion disk. The black hole’s extreme gravity skews light emitted by different parts of the disk, producing the misshapen appearance. Click for a larger version. If it looks vaguely familiar, a similar model was used in the movie Interstellar. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman
A new visualization of a black hole from NASA helps us appreciate how the hole’s gravity distorts our view, warping its surroundings as if seen in a carnival mirror. A black hole forms when an object, often the core of an exploding star called a supernova, collapses into a tiny ball of such fantastic density that its gravity becomes strong enough to suck back its own light. With no light reaching our eyes, the object becomes a “dark shadow” of its former self. The only way we know it’s there is by its gravity. Gravity affects objects near the hole — a star can orbit a black hole for instance — but it also distorts and twists the fabric of space and time.
An animation showing the flow of gases around a simulated black ...

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