NASA simulation takes you into a black hole

NASA has recently released two spectacular video simulations of black holes, a feat that required the generation of a massive ten terabytes of data. These jaw-dropping visualizations were created by NASA scientists Jeremy Schnittman and Brian Powell using the Discover supercomputer at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation. The project utilized a mere 0.3% of Discover's 129,000 processors. NASA estimates that it would take an average laptop working at full capacity up to ten years to produce the same results.

From NASA:

The destination is a supermassive black hole with 4.3 million times the mass of our Sun, equivalent to the monster located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. To simplify the complex calculations, the black hole is not rotating.  

A flat, swirling cloud of hot, glowing gas called an accretion disk surrounds the black hole and serves as a visual reference during the fall. So do glowing structures called photon rings, which form closer to the black hole from light that has orbited it one or more times. A backdrop of the starry sky as seen from Earth completes the scene.

First up is a voyage into a black hole. The camera approaches the black hole, orbits briefly, and then crosses the event horizon and meets its end.

The second video simulates a camera, or lucky astronaut, missing the event horizon and slingshotting back out. The flyby may be less exciting, but on the other hand, it is survivable, unlike crossing the event horizon, which results in spaghettification – a fantastic word for a very unpleasant fate. 

I highly recommend watching these on a VR headset.

Previously: NASA official takes oath of office with hand on Carl Sagan book