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Accretion by a supermassive black hole

Accretion by a supermassive black hole

F004/1184

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

This image shows the aftermath of the accretion of a star by a supermassive black hole. Black holes such as these lurk at the centres of many, if not all, galaxies, and can weight in at anything from a few tens of thousands to several billion times the mass of a single star. The star has been completely destroyed, its gasses mingling inside the giant accretion disc with those of previous stars which met the same fate.

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