Have you ever wondered how wicked and weird the Universe would look as you free fall into a black hole at nearly the speed of light? Wonder no more, my dear Alice, and play this video.

The stars' light gets distorted as you get closer to the black hole's horizon. First, their light turns redder, as the photons try to escape the black hole's strong gravitational field, which stretches the light wavelength. But since you are traveling at nearly the speed of light, the effect gets compensated by the Doppler effect, turning them back to blue. At the middle of the black hole, the entire universe looks like a bright ring around the black hole.

In this video you can see the same fall, but with rockets slowing the spaceship descent into the hole:

The simulation was created by Thomas Müller using his program—available as a Linux and Windows download. His software accurately shows the effect of black holes in the Universe light, using physics and a map of more than 118,000 stars created using the information captured by ESA's Hipparcos spacecraft. [VIS via New Scientist]