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Spiraling into A Black Hole - Windows to the Universe

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This is an artist's conception of the event horizon surrounding the object, Cygnus XR-1.
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Courtesy of STScI, NASA, ESA

Spiraling into A Black Hole
News story originally written on January 16, 2001

Everyone is awed by black holes. How could there be a thing that just devours all light and matter around it...so that matter can never escape?!? Scientists using observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope have found material spiraling into black holes!

Both teams have shown evidence for event horizons surrounding black holes. Event horizons are the point around a black hole from which nothing (not even light!) can escape! Only black holes have event horizons, so finding an event horizon is finding a black hole.

This all sounds like something off the sci-fi channel, but in reality, these findings took an awful lot of hard work! Use the links below to learn more about these findings.

Last modified January 18, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF