NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supermassive black hole. Illustration showing a supermassive black hole corona shift. The black hole (lower frame in eech image) is surrounded by a swirling disk of material falling onto it, known as an accretion disk. The purplish ball of light represents a feature called the corona. This is not visible to the human eye, but contains highly energetic particles that generate X-rays. The corona may shift its position. It gathers inward (left), becoming brighter, before shooting away from the black hole (centre and right). When it moves closer to the black hole, it creates a flare of X-rays before shooting away again. X-ray flares are also produced when the corona travels toward us at very fast speeds. An effect called relativistic boosting normally occurs before a corona shift, intensifying X-rays reflected off material on one side of the accretion disk (which is travelling near half the speed of light), and dimming them the other side. Another form.
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