(Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum)
When a supernova explosion leaves behind a remnant
core over three times more massive than our Sun, the remnant becomes a black
hole--a body whose gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape from
Although invisible, a black hole can be detected by its gravitational influence
on companion stars or on the gas orbiting around it. Friction heats the
dust and gas to hundreds of millions of degrees, causing it to radiate x-rays
and gamma rays.
A service of the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics at
Goddard Space Flight Center
Technical Rep: Jay Norris
Web Curator: J.D. Myers
Viewing The Violent Universe was created by
Joslyn Schoemer, Stephanie Leitner and Tom Chi.
Questions and comments may be sent to Joslyn Schoemer at