MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This illustration shows a supermassive black hole in the process of devouring a nearby gaseous planet. Supermassive black holes, weighing in at between several hundred thousand and several billion solar masses, are gigantic black holes that are thought to lurk at the centres of most, if not all, galaxies, and certainly all of those which have active cores. These black holes are surrounded by vast discs of shredded matter. Here, a black hole of around 100, 000 solar masses is tidally distorting a nearby planet. Eventually it will be entirely destroyed and swallowed.
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