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At the centre of every large galaxy lives a giant black hole that swallows gas or dust clouds that stray too close. As matter spirals inwards, it is compressed into an accretion disk. By the time it falls into the black hole, the matter is so hot that much of its mass is converted to energy, which emerges as heat, light and jets of high-energy particles.!/image/Quasar.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/Quasar.jpg

Black holes are strange regions where gravity is strong enough to bend light, warp space and distort time.<br />

Paradox Solved? How Information Can Escape from a Black Hole

Black holes are strange regions where gravity is strong enough to bend light, warp space and distort time.<br />

Carina nebula. A portion of the Keyhole (the dark mass on the bottom), and on the top left, one of many dense molecular clouds of gas and dust being simultaneously compressed by the hot gases surrounding them, and ionized by the intense ultraviolet radiation from nearby stars. Within a few million years, most of the gases in the molecular cloud will be scattered and mixed with its surroundings. But stars now forming in its interior will gleam brightly, once their dusty shroud is removed.

8 incredible images of dead and dying stars

Colliding galaxies | #NGC6240A giant cloud of gas spanning 300,000 years light with a mass of 10 billion suns into the system merging galaxies NGC 6240. This collision involving two spiral galaxies the size of the Milky Way, each with a supermassive black hole at the center, they are on track to form an even more massive black hole.

Space Pictures This Week: Sinking Moon, Frosty Leo, More

A recently released Hubble Space Telescope picture shows IRAS 09371+1212, nicknamed the Frosty Leo Nebula, because it's rich in grains of water ice and lies in the constellation Leo, the Lion.The object is what's called a protoplanetary nebula—a cloud of dust and gas formed from material shed by an aging central star similar in mass to our sun.

A giant gas cloud spanning 300,000 light years with a mass of 10 billion Suns inside the galaxy merger system NGC 6240, involving two spiral Milky Way-sized galaxies each containing a supermassive black hole in the center. This collision has also sparked a burst of stellar birth, which has lasted for at least 200 million years. This has led to violent supernovas as some of the most massive stars have rapidly completed their stellar evolution.

Milky Way’s second-largest black hole? Astronomers are calling it a possible first detection of an intermediate-mass black hole, a missing link in black hole evolution. 1/20/16 Artist’s impression of the clouds scattered by an intermediate mass black hole. Image credit: Tomoharu Oka (Keio University)