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MSSL Astrophysics Group Beginner's Guides

Accretion Disc

rainbow strip

Starting from the cooler, outer edges of the accretion disc, you fly up and in towards the centre, where you can see the `monster' lurking at the heart of every quasar - a supermassive black hole with the mass of approximately 100 million Suns. The gas which forms the accretion disc eventually spirals down until it becomes part of the black hole itself - and releasing up to half of its rest-mass energy in doing so. This is the most efficient form of energy generation known in the Universe.

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This page last updated on the 11th September 1999.