While black holes can’t emit their own light, matter surrounding and falling toward it can create quite a light show. Here you’ll find a collection of data visualizations, illustrations, and telescope images of black hole environments.
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This image shows the warped view of a larger supermassive black hole (red) when it passes almost directly behind a companion black hole (blue) with half its mass. The gravity of the foreground black hole transforms its partner into a surreal collection of arcs.
A black hole pulls material off a neighboring star and into an accretion disk in this illustration of a black hole named MAXI J1820+070. Above the disk is a region of superhot subatomic particles called the corona.
The central region of our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains an exotic collection of objects, including a supermassive black hole weighing about 4 million times the mass of the Sun, clouds of gas at temperatures of millions of degrees, neutron stars and white dwarf stars tearing material from companion stars, and beautiful tendrils of radio emission. This new composite image shows Chandra data (green and blue) combined with radio data (red) from the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa.
Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a supermassive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A as imaged by Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico.