MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Accretion disc. Computer graphic illustration depicting an accretion disc around a black hole. An accretion disc is formed from matter being drawn toward a black hole. Theory suggests that black holes rotate rapidly. Thus they impart angular momentum to matter approaching them by gravitational effects. Matter falling into the black hole starts to form a large, spiral disc. As the matter gets closer to the 'edge' (event horizon) of the black hole, it is compressed and heated so that it begins to glow. Very close to the event horizon, the material glows in X-rays. This characteristic glow is thought to be the best way to detect a black hole.
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