Is there a safe distance in which a black hole can be observed with the human eye? What is a safe distance?

I have seen many computer simulated and artist renditions, and I am not sure if they depicted the true colors and shape of BH.

Below I have a few of examples of what may a BH may look like rendered.

enter image description here How light from the accretion disk maybe refracted by gravitational lensing. http://www.physics.utah.edu/~bromley/blackhole/index.html

enter image description here enter image description here https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38937141

enter image description here https://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/black_hole_chat.html

Should these models be mixed to make a more complete rendition of a BH?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ this is a great question $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 19:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes. There are a lot of crap depictions of black holes out there, and I think a list of pictures, both good and bad, would be helpful for the general public who search for them. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ Apparently fictional Gargantuan from the movie Interstellar is a good simulation. I would expect something more on line with the top picture, with Doppler like shifts. I would say that any decent pic should be seen keeping in mind what exact phenomenon has been simulated (synchrotron rad, emission from external matter, rotation....) of it is supposed to be a global rendering in the vis. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ The question in the body and in the title of the question are different. Which one do you want to ask? $\endgroup$
    – usernumber
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ You might be interested in iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0264-9381/32/6/065001/pdf $\endgroup$
    – usernumber
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 10:21

2 Answers 2


This simulation (video link) has been made to show what a black hole might look like seen from different angles.

From APOD :

If the black hole was surrounded by a swirling disk of glowing and accreting gas, then the great gravity of the black hole would deflect light emitted by the disk to make it look very unusual. [...] Surrounding the central black hole is a thin circular image of the orbiting disk that marks the position of the photon sphere -- inside of which lies the black hole's event horizon. Toward the left, parts of the large main image of the disk appear brighter as they move toward you.


From the Wikipedia black hole article

M87* black hole

This is a picture of a real black hole.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ That's an image of the M87* supermassive black hole, but it was created using radiotelescopes. The OP is asking about the visual appearance of a black hole to the human eye, not what it looks like in the microwave band. BTW, you should not post images on Stack Exchange sites without giving the source of the image (and a link, if the source is online). $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 4:51

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