NASA's new Black Hole visualization explains how & why we observe it

A still image of a black hole seen from the side

A still image of a black hole seen from the side

Given the hostile nature of black holes, it is impossible to study these regions up close. Within the event horizon, lies the singularity at the center of the black hole-a one-dimensional point where gravity is predicted to be infinite and the laws of physics as we know them break down.

Above we have the image released by NASA, and they explain that we can see where the black holes extreme gravitational pull has managed to pull in large amounts of matter that form into a thin structure called an accretion disk.

In the image, a simulated black hole is surrounded by accumulated matter that's being pulled toward it. Nearest the black hole, the gas orbits at close to the speed of light, while the outer portions spin a bit more slowly. What we see as the photon ring is made up of several layers that grow progressively thinner and dimmer - this is light that's been bent several times around the black hole before escaping for our telescopes to capture.

Dr Thomas Holoien, from the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, said: "TESS data let us see exactly when this destructive event, named ASASSN-19bt, started to get brighter, which we've never been able to do before".

A network of 20 robotic telescopes, ASAS-SN, just spotted a star getting shredded after getting too close to a black hole.

NASA has captured an enormous black hole tearing apart a star 375 million light years from Earth.

Black hole annotation

Gas in accretion disks is very hot (through a combination of friction and compression), so it radiates in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

After years of research and technological advancements, we achieved the first direct image of a black hole with great difficulty.

The visualisation first shows what a black hole would look like from the side (the way it appears in the still image above): You'd see a dark sphere in the centre.

If you look at the disk side, his left side looks brighter than the right. The glowing gas on the left side of the disk moves so fast that the effects of Einstein's relativity theory give it a boost in terms of brightness.

The gravitational light-bending near the black hole becomes so excessive that the underside of the disk looks like a ring of light outlining the black hole.

"Simulations and movies like these really help us visualise what Einstein meant when he said that gravity warps the fabric of space and time", Jeremy Schnittman, the NASA astrophysicist who created the visualisation, said in a statement. "Until very recently, these visualisations were limited to our imagination and computer programs".

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