COOL IMAGES: Birthing a Black Hole

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Science  17 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5448, pp. 2227
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5448.2227b

Two jets of gas (red) stream at nearly half the speed of light from an exploding star in this simulation of a collapsar, “a dying spinning massive star giving birth to a hungry black hole,” according to University of California, Santa Cruz, grad student Andrew MacFadyen's home page. His and adviser Stan Woosley's collapsar model attempts to explain gamma ray bursts, mysterious flares billions of light-years away that emit more energy in a matter of seconds than our sun will in its lifetime. Observations earlier this year favor a collapsar scenario rather than explanations such as a collision between two neutron stars. MacFadyen has festooned his Web site with images from his models and promises to add movies “after the holidays.”

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