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VIDEO: Look inside a stellar-mass black hole

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    Cheryl Santa Maria
    Digital Reporter

    Friday, June 14, 2013, 2:37 PM -

    A team of astronomers led by NASA have created a supercomputer simulation to confirm how stellar-mass black holes produce their highest-energy light.

    Formed by the gravitational collapse of a massive star, stellar mass black holes are between 3 and 10 times the mass of the sun.

    A new computer animation provides a glimpse inside one such region of space, where gas is heated to 20 million degrees Fahrenheit, about 2,000 times hotter than the sun, as it spirals towards a black hole.

    Near the centre, gas is spinning near the speed of light and temperatures climb into the billions of degrees.

    The centre -- also called the "event horizon" -- is described by NASA as the "boundary where all trajectories, including those of light, must go inward. Nothing, not even light, can pass outward across the event horizon and escape the black hole."

    "Black holes are truly exotic, with extraordinarily high temperatures, incredibly rapid motions and gravity exhibiting the full weirdness of general relativity," said Julian Krolik, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, in a statement.

    "But our calculations show we can understand a lot about them using only standard physics principles."

    The complete findings have been published in the latest edition of Astrophysical Journal.

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