Supermassive black hole and accretion disc, illustration

Supermassive black hole and accretion disc, illustration

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Credit: ESA/Hubble/M. Kornmesser/EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Restrictions: This image may not be used by or to promote the arms, nuclear power or tobacco industries or any religious organisation, or in any discriminatory way, or to imply the endorsement by ESO of any product, service or activity

Caption: Supermassive black hole and accretion disc, illustration. A black hole is formed when a massive object collapses under the force of its own gravity, increasing the gravitational pull to the point where, beyond a boundary known as the event horizon, nothing, not even light, can escape. Here, the thin disc of rotating material is the remains of a Sun-like star which was ripped apart by the tidal forces of the black hole. Shocks in the colliding debris, as well as heat generated in accretion, result in bursts of light that resemble a supernova explosion. Image published in 2016.

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Keywords: 2016, accretion disc, artwork, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, black hole, glowing, gravitational, gravity, illustration, no-one, nobody, powerful, radiation, singularity, space, supermassive black hole, tidal forces, universe

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