Now that you’ve learned about the basic solitary black hole, let’s start talking about some fancier ones!
While black holes themselves are indeed black, they can also be a bright source of light, putting on a great show if things like gas, dust, snacks, potatoes, missing left socks, or even stars get a bit too close.
Often, this stuff can turn into an accretion disk, which is basically just a bunch of gas, dust, and, um, other stuff … circling the black hole in, well, a disk. Anyway, as everything spirals in, it gets super-hot and causes the wonderful spectacle we see here.
Black holes can also show off by launching powerful jets, which are made when some of the stuff falls toward the black hole, gets sped up to nearly the speed of light, and then gets thrown off at … also nearly the speed of light! Some of this stuff, in the form of light and charged particles, can even make it all the way to planets like Earth!
The most amazing thing about all this, though, is that it could actually appear as many kinds of brilliant, bright light, including lots of light we can’t see with our eyes! So, if you really want to see a fancy black hole in all its glory, it could help to have a lot of different telescopes that can see all the fanciness.
And now that you know this, grab as many telescopes as you can find, line them all up, and enjoy!