LIONEL BRET / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIONEL BRET / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Active black hole. Artwork of the accretion disc and polar jets of an active black hole. A black hole, formed by the collapse of the core of a massive star, 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 are highly-energetic particles which are forced away at 90 degrees from the disc by radiation pressure.
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