For years, scientists assumed that matter being sucked into a black hole was an orderly affair: the matter rapidly went from three-dimensional to the astrophysical equivalent of a flattened beer can with no muss or fuss.
Now we know it’s more like Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote sketch: the black hole wolfs down the matter and vomits particles everywhere…particles we can easily pick up on radio telescopes and, thus, observe a black hole turning matter into…well…flattened beer cans.
Why does the matter being crushed do this? Nobody really knows. We do know it has nothing to do with adorable robots or the Cygnus, but beyond that, we’re at a loss. Looks neat, though! Check it out on the next slide.
[ via the wafer thin at Engadget ]