DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black hole. Illustration of a black hole showing its accretion disc and polar jets. A black hole is a region in space where the pull of gravity exceeds the velocity of light. The accretion disc is made up of matter spiralling as it falls into the black hole. This matter is heated as it nears the hole, and emits X-rays which allow the presence of the black hole to be inferred. The polar jets seen here are composed of highly- energetic particles which are forced away at 90 degrees from the disc by radiation pressure. No black holes have yet been confirmed to exist, although several strong candidates have been found.
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