RICHARD KAIL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD KAIL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black hole and infalling matter. A black hole is formed when the core of a star collapses under its own weight, increasing the strength of its gravitational field to the point where not even light can escape. Infalling matter (here, dust) will heat up and emit X-rays and other forms of radiation as it is torn apart by the immense forces of the black hole. The flash at the event horizon is photons with Hawking radiation, one of the few ways in which a black hole can lose mass.
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