Seeking Art in Science

The Art of Science
Tim Koby / Princeton University Art of Science Competition

Neutron Star Scattering off a Super Massive Black Hole
People who believe in astrology or aliens may look for hidden meaning in this model of a black hole sucking neutron stars into its maw. But the phenomenon has a perfectly natural astrophysical explanation. In an attempt to flee the black hole, these densely packed neutron stars — small but superdense and superhot remnants of massive stars that went supernova — scatter into eccentric, or noncircular, orbits, causing intricate and sometimes beautiful patterns. Eventually most stars escape. This image, generated by a computer algorithm, won third prize.

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