DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration depicting the effect of a black hole on light rays. At the centre is a singularity, the infinitely small and infinitely dense remnant of a collapsed star. It is surrounded by an 'event horizon', from which nothing can escape. Five parallel light rays are shown. Three are bent by varying amounts by the black hole's intense gravitation. A fourth just manages to remain outside of the black hole, effectively orbiting it and defining the event horizon. A fifth approaches too close to escape, and is drawn in. The light undergoes a massive red shift as it approaches the event horizon, finally spiralling toward the singularity at the centre.
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