Skip navigation

View of a Rotating Black HoleThis artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.) In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. This disk forms as the dust and gas in the galaxy falls onto the hole, attracted by its gravity.

Also shown is an outflowing jet of energetic particles, believed to be powered by the black hole’s spin. The regions near black holes contain compact sources of high energy X-ray radiation thought, in some scenarios, to originate from the base of these jets. This high energy X-radiation lights up the disk, which reflects it, making the disk a source of X-rays. The reflected light enables astronomers to see how fast matter is swirling in the inner region of the disk, and ultimately to measure the black hole’s spin rate.

It was a delight to have time to develop this piece over a couple of weeks with extensive interaction with the science team.

Simulated gravitational lensing (black hole go...

Simulated gravitational lensing (black hole going past a background galaxy). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That said, it is missing something important that, given the time constraints, was just not feasible to incorporate. Ideally this should also show the gravitational lensing around the event horizon. Perhaps in an upcoming release I will get the chance to do that too! But until then, others have taken up that challenge as well.

Advertisements

One Comment

  1. What an incredible image. Mind-blowing, truly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: