As before, from this orientation, the black hole's enormous gravity bends light to make two discernible images of the constellation Orion. You now descend to the photon sphere. A photon sphere is a location where gravity is so strong that light can travel in circles. Photons orbit the black hole at the distance of the photon sphere. A photon could leave the back of your head, go once around the black hole, and be seen by your eye - you can see the back of your head.

At the photon sphere, no light emitted outside can reach you from below - you look into the vast emptiness of the black hole. The sky you once knew is now behind you, compacted to occupy only half its original area.

Next: Looking up at the photon sphere.

Replay the movie segment: Approaching the Photon Sphere.

Play the next movie segment: Looking Up at the Photon Sphere.

Go to the hypertext describing the next movie segment: Looking Up at the Photon Sphere.

Peruse the American Journal of Physics Article on this subject.

Back to Virtual Trips to Black Holes and Neutron Stars Page