An artist's conception of an active galaxy with a supermassive black hole
in its center, but without jets.
An artist's depiction of a black hole's gravitational potential well.
Einstein showed that the Universe can be thought of as a giant flat sheet
of fabric called spacetime. Objects with mass put "dents" into the
fabric. The depth of the dent is related to the mass of the object. A
black hole creates such a deep dent that it essentially rips a hole
through the fabric of spacetime.
This rendition by an artist shows the spiraling of material from a normal
star to a black hole. A hot spot is created where the new material hits
the existing accretion disk and X-rays are emitted as the material
spirals into the black hole and heats up.
A depiction of matter gaining speed as it spirals toward the black hole.
Once the material crosses the event horizon, it is no longer detectable.
An astronomy and astrophysics site for the high school and college
student. It also contains lesson plans for math and science teachers.
The site is maintained by the Astrophysics Science Division at
Dr. John Simonetti of the Department of Physics at Virginia Tech responds
to questions about black holes frequently asked by K-12 students.
This is an online educational exhibit about black holes and their
associated phenomenon provided by the University of Illinois.
The StarChild Web site is written by teachers for students in K-8. The
site is continually updated and includes information on diverse astronomy
topics including black holes. Activities are included in order to
reinforce the concepts discussed in the text.
Download a pdf version.