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September 25, 2006

Simulation of an Accreting Black Hole

Simulation of an Accreting Black Hole

Simulation of an accreting black hole. Black holes are believed to lie at the center of most galaxies in the universe. There, they accumulate mass, feeding on the surrounding plasma. This image shows the density in a section through a numerical model of an accreting black hole. The plasma forms a dense ring (center), surrounding the hole (center left). Magnetic fields embedded in the plasma lead to turbulence and a slow but inexorable shrinking of the ring. It is only within the past four years that algorithms have been successfully developed to model such systems, and that supercomputers have grown fast enough to run the models.

This research was supported by National Science Foundation grants AST 00-93091 and PHY 02-05155. (Date of Image: 2003)

Credit: J. McKinney and C. F. Gammie

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