A Destructive Dance

Among the more lethal pairings in the cosmos is a binary star system in which one member has become a black hole. The visible member of the pair is a blue supergiant with a mass about 30 times greater than the sun. The x-ray-emitting region is an accretion disk formed when matter from the supergiant is drawn into the rotating black hole.

A Cosmic Sinkhole

Black holes in space are perhaps as far removed as possible from tangible experience. But what if a black hole were somehow to appear in an Earthly urban setting? As depicted here, even earthquake-proof buildings wouldn't stand a chance. Drawn inexorably toward the invisible gravitational maw, New York's Empire State Building would accelerate to near the speed of light, stretching until it fractured in the warped and twisted fabric of space-time befor descending through the blackness of the event horizon.

A Gravitational Well

If an object approaches closer than a certain zone, it spirals inward helplessly toward the event horizon. Such is the inescapable fate of light and anything else that wanders too close to the black hole's deep gravitational well.