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The strange physics of the black hole revealed in NASA's rendering



Black holes in your mind? You're in luck because NASA has a new preview showing how these huge objects work.

Black holes are extremely high density regions that distort the space around them to such an extent that they capture matter and light. If an object approaches too close and enters the point of return of the black hole, called the event horizon, it cannot escape the black hole. Even light cannot move fast enough to escape from the black hole if it falls beyond this point.

The event horizon is so small that no telescope can imagine it. Only after the Event Horizon telescope brought together several observatories around the world did the team working together in 201

7 create an image of a supermassive black hole in the M87 galaxy, which scientists released earlier this year .

] Related: Eureka! Scientists for the first time shoot a black hole

Tagged from the animation detailing different parts of the black hole anatomy.

(Image credit: Jeremy Schnittman / NASA Godard Space Center

A new NASA preview shows a more detailed view of black hole physics than this image can reveal. Animation shows how a black hole ] distorts its neighborhood – just like a carnival mirror, NASA says in a statement.

When debris (like gas) falls into a black hole, material collapses into a thin structure called an accretion disk. Curving magnetic fields around the disk transform the gas cluster. in knots, ka But these nodes are transient as matter moves closer to the orbit that pulls gas around the black hole in light and dark sails.

Visualization shows how light behaves as an observer on Earth watching the end of gas. rotating around a black hole In this scenario, the gas on the left side of the rotating disk looks brighter than the material on the right, NASA explained, because that gas on the left is moving toward us. The light waves emitting from the left side of the disc are compacted (from our point of view) and thus appear brighter. On the right side, the gas is moving away from us, so the light waves are stretching out and this side looks darker.

Another way to imagine this effect called the Doppler effect is to imagine yourself looking at a car on a circular track. As the car makes a turn and faces you, its motor sounds louder because the car is moving toward you, so its sound waves are compressed. As the car turns around and turns towards you, its motor sounds quieter as the sound waves stretch.

Other aspects of black hole physics are more difficult to represent. For example, the preview also shows what happens when the light gets very close to the black hole. Light consists of particles called photons . As light circles the black hole two, three or more times, it forms a photonic ring. The light seems distorted, NASA explained, because the photons circled the black hole repeatedly (in slightly different orbits) before escaping and reaching our telescopes or eyes.

"Simulations and movies like these really help us visualize what Einstein meant when he said gravity distorts the fabric of space and time," Jeremy Schnittman, who generates images using custom software at the Space Flight Center of NASA's Goddard Maryland, said in a statement .

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook .

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