JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black hole. Artist's impression of a large black hole (at lower centre) located at the centre of an active galaxy. Around the hole are numerous stars, a glowing accretion disk and a vertical jet of gas. An accretion disk forms as the rapidly- rotating black hole imparts angular momentum by gravitational effects to matter falling towards it. The matter forms a large, spiral disc which is compressed and heated so that it begins to glow, emitting photons. The accretion disk becomes so hot that radiation pressure from the photons force out 2 jets of gas at the black hole's poles almost at the speed of light. Active galaxies emit large amounts of energy from a source at their centre.
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