Does a black hole have a shape? Is there a front and back or side view? Does it look the same from all vantage points?
When you think about a black hole, you very likely think about a large amount of mass, pulled towards a central location by the tremendous force of gravity. It’s not all that different from our own Sun, which is the largest mass in town. Some 300,000 times as massive as Earth, despite its rotation, the Sun is almost perfectly spherical, differing by less than 0.0001%.
While black holes themselves may be perfectly spherical (or for rotating black holes, almost perfectly spherical), there are important physical cases that can cause them to look tremendously asymmetrical, including the possession of an accretion disk and, in the most extreme case, a merger with another black hole.
Jillian Scudder has the entire story on her latest Astroquizzical column, with some remarkable images and videos to help visualize the whole thing!