One of J.B.S. Haldane’s bon mots was this: “Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” Science is loaded with things that, a priori, we could never have imagined would exist. Frogs, for example, violate any notion I have of what an animal could evolve into. But the queerest things of all that lie beyond our imagination are in physics. One of these is the existence of black holes. (See here for a good introduction.)
Ever wonder what it would be like to take a spacecraft near a black hole, or even enter it (which is, as John McLaughlin says, “Bye bye!”)? Two physicists from Stuttgart, Thomas Müller and Daniel Weiskopf, have just published a paper in The American Journal of Physics describing a computer program for envisioning what the sky would look like around a black hole.
And, if you can use the program, you can create all kinds of other black-hole tours.
Müller, T. and D. Weisskopf. 2010. Distortion of the stellar sky by a Schwarzchild black hole. Am. J. Physics 78:204-214.