Black Hole with Accretion Disk. This image is 600 x 445 pixels; the original measures 4,015 x 2,975 pixels.
A star, somewhat like our Sun, pictured near a black hole. The gravitational pull of the black hole distorts the star making it pear shaped. Material is dragged away from the star and forms an accretion disk as it spirals inwards and finally disappears into the black hole. Very high temperatures near the inner (blue-white) part of the disk create winds (seen in yellow) that spin material off into space. The extreme conditions near the black hole force jets of material (pale blue) to shoot out above and below the accretion disk. Try our interactive version of this black hole system. Convert astronomical distances such as parsecs and light years using our calculator.