How do we know Black Holes exist?

            Although we cannot see black holes, we know they are there because of the effect they have on their surroundings. When matter falls towards a black hole, it emits electromagnetic radiation. Scientists use tools like the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (http://chandra.harvard.edu/index.html) to see radiation emitted around black holes and other space phenomena that is invisible to our human eyes.
            Black holes have such enormous gravitational forces that even light cannot escape. When a black hole is in the way of our view of, say, another galaxy, it distorts the light and bends it around itself.


Wikipedia has a great animation of gravitational lensing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Black_hole_lensing_web.gif
A black hole distorting the light from the galaxy behind it. This is called "gravitational lensing".
Image from BC Science 9 Textbook
"A black hole's effects on its surroundings. A star is being drawn into the black hole, and jets of material are shooting out the center."





















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