What the Heck Is This?

This photo is a real gem. Well, actually, that's a lie. I mean, to the people who made the image, it's a gem, but there are no gems in the image.

Can you guess what it is? I bet a lot of people will guess one aspect of it but not the whole shebang.

See an explanation and the full image below …

Those are stars near a supermassive black hole at the center of a giant galaxy. The image, combined with another to form a composite picture, revealed to scientists how the black hole is devouring gas.

This composite image shows X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (the blue-white stars) and optical data (the rest of the galaxy) from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope of the galaxy NGC 3115. Using the Chandra data, the flow of hot gas toward the supermassive black hole in the center of this galaxy has been imaged. This is the first time that clear evidence for such a flow has been observed in any black hole. (Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Alabama/K.Wong et al, Optical: ESO/VLT)

Got a strange or interesting photo related to science, nature or technology? What the Heck, send it to me, and maybe I'll use it.

Robert Roy Britt

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as Space.com and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.