quaith writes "The New Scientist reports on a simulation just published in the American Journal of Physics that shows how the sky would appear in the vicinity of a black hole — if an observer could actually get near one. Using real positions of around 118,000 stars, the simulation shows how the bending of light, the frequency shift, and the magnification caused by gravitational lensing and aberration in the vicinity of the black hole affect the sky's appearance. The simulation is interactive and allows the user to explore the stellar sky around the black hole. The simulation offers a couple of modes: 'quasi static' or 'freely falling' and the sample videos are quite spectacular. The New Scientist has a writeup, with an embedded video . The original article citation is here (abstract only). The simulation, which runs on Linux or Windows, as well as sample videos, can be downloaded from the University of Stuttgart website."