Black holes are extremely powerful and efficient engines that not only swallow up matter, but also return a lot of energy to the Universe in exchange for the mass they eat. In this artist’s drawing, a black hole is swallowing material from a nearby star behind it. Before disappearing forever, the material from the star is accelerated to very high speeds around the black hole. This fast-moving material gives off energy as X-rays, which is released into space. Meanwhile, the black hole also releases energy through powerful jets of material that shoot out from above and below.
P. Jonker/Rob Hynes