In today’s article, we gonna talk about one of the most fascinating and mysterious objects in the space i.e. Black hole. So don’t waste any more time, let’s get started.
What are black holes?
Physicist Albert Einstein first mentioned the black holes in 1916 with his general theory of relativity. Black holes are one of the strangest and most fascinating objects found in the space. They have extreme density and mass, exist at a point called the singularity. With such strong gravitational attraction, any atomic particles even light cannot escape from it. The gravity is so strong because the matter has been squeezed into a tiny space.
Because no light can get out of it, so people can’t see black holes. They are invisible. Only special telescopes (like Hubble telescope) can find it.
Cygnus X-1 is the first black hole, discovered in 1971 in the constellation Cygnus. It has a mass of around 8.7 times of the Sun.
Types of black holes
Black holes are categorized into three parts:
- Stellar black holes
- Supermassive black holes
- Intermediate black holes
Stellar black holes
When a larger star burns through the last of its fuel, it collapses, or fall into itself. It continues to compress and creates a stellar black hole. Such an object packs three times or more the mass of the sun into a city-size range. This leads to a crazy amount of gravitational force pulling on objects around it. Black holes consume the dust and gas from the galaxy around them, growing in size.
According to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, “the Milky Way contains a few hundred million” stellar black holes.
Supermassive black holes
Supermassive black holes are millions or even billions of times as massive as the sun but have a radius similar to it. Such black holes are thought to lie at the center of pretty much every galaxy, including the Milky Way. Supermassive black holes may be the result of hundreds or thousands of tiny black holes that merge together.
A supermassive black hole with a mass equivalent to 4,310,000 Suns i.e. Sagittarius A, exists at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
Intermediate black holes
Such bodies could form when stars in a cluster collide in a chain reaction to create the intermediate black holes.
Parts of a black hole
Black holes have two major parts:
- Event horizon
Event horizon: The event horizon of a black hole is the boundary around the mouth of the black hole where anything loses its ability to escape. Once a particle crosses the event horizon, it cannot leave. Gravity is constant across the event horizon.
Singularity: The inner region of a black hole, where its mass lies, is known as its singularity, the single point in space-time where the mass of the black hole is concentrated.
How do black holes form?
Scientists think the smallest black holes formed when the universe began. Stellar black holes are made when the center of a very big star falls in upon itself or collapses. When this happens, it causes a supernova. A supernova is an exploding star that blasts part of the star into space.
Scientists think supermassive black holes were made at the same time as the galaxy they are in.
Some interesting facts about black holes
- If you fell into a black hole, the theories suggested that gravity would stretch you out like spaghetti, though your death would come before you reached the singularity. But a study also suggests that quantum effects would cause the event horizon to act much like a wall of fire, instantly burning anyone to death.
- It is said that black holes can be the source of time travel If we managed somehow to survive in it.
- There is a giant black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
- Any space body can turn into a black hole If it is compressed into its Schwarzschild radius.
- The first object considered to be a black hole is Cygnus X-1.
- Tiny black holes may have formed immediately after the Big Bang.
- If a star passes too close to a black hole, it can be torn apart.
- Astronomers estimate there are anywhere from 10 million to a billion stellar black holes, with masses roughly three times that of the sun, in the Milky Way.
It has always been one of the most curious concepts in the world of science and always will. Even you must have seen some movies on this concept. If you haven’t watched any movie yet on it, then please go and watch the Interstellar movie. It is one of my personal favorites and I assure you that this movie is not just a movie but something even more. You will be thrilled and excited for sure after watching it.
PS: Scientists have at last managed to see a real super-massive black hole. Announcing the result at a National Science Foundation press conference in Washington, D.C. on 10th of April 2019, representatives of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration unveiled a reconstructed image of the super-massive black hole in the giant elliptical galaxy M87. The galaxy lies about 55 million light-years away in the Virgo constellation.
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