Black holes have been at the forefront of science fiction for decades, and they’re one of the most absorbing parts of our universe (both in terms of learning about them and their gravitational pull!). But what really are black holes, and where are they in relation to everything else in our universe?
Black holes can be found at the center of a galaxy, but they’re very difficult to see – it’s thought that a Nebula can eventually form a black hole. Let’s find out with some facts about black holes as we know them.
Black Hole Facts
- We think that there are supermassive black holes are at the center of all different galaxies, including our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
- One form of black hole, called a stellar black hole, is caused by the gravitational collapse of a star. They’re also referred to as stellar mass black holes.
- Another form of black hole is known as a supermassive black hole, which are thought to be at the center of every galaxy.
- However, some black holes may be as small as an atom – we call these primordial black holes.
- Some black holes may only be 100x the mass of the Sun. However, a large black hole may be more than a billion times the mass of our Sun.
- Although black holes were theorized by astronomers for many years, it wasn’t until 1971 that the first black hole was discovered.
- Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proposed the existence of black holes more than 60 years before they were discovered.
- The closest supermassive black hole to Earth is called Sagittarius A*. It is around 25,000 light years away.
- There is a black hole closer to Earth called V616 Monocerotis. It is only 3,500 light years away from Earth.
- Astronomers theorize that black holes may be wormholes, where you could enter one and come out through a different black hole.
- Black holes do not “suck”, but they do consume other objects due to their large gravitational pull.
- As black holes continue to absorb all of the mass around it, they continue to keep growing in size.
- The closer and closer you get to a black hole, the slower and slower that time would go past. We call this gravitational time dilation.
Merging Black Holes
It is thought that when two black holes get close enough to each other, they will then merge together and make a large binary black hole.
In 2016, it was announced that stellar-mass binary black holes existed with the discovery of one, which we refer to as GW150914. This event was the first known to produce gravitational waves that we can actually see.
Common Questions about Black Holes
Can I see a black hole?
No, we cannot directly see black holes. This is because they are so black that it is impossible for us to see any light emitted from it, which is how we see planets. However, we know black holes exist due to the environment that surrounds them, as black holes pull stars and other objects into them.
Where does a black hole lead?
Well, we’ll likely never know where a black hole leads as by the time we got close enough to it, we’d be ripped apart by it’s gravitational effects! However, there is a theory that black holes are effectively wormholes, meaning if you entered into one that you would come out of a different hole elsewhere in the universe.
Where is the black hole in the Milky Way?
The black hole in the Milky Way is located in the constellation Sagittarius. We refer to this supermassive black hole as Sagittarius A*, and in recent years, astronomers have noticed this black hole becoming more active and emitting more energy. We think that this black holes has more than 4 million times the mass of our Sun.
What is Hawkin Radiation?
This theory was made by professor Steven Hawking back in the 1970s. Essentially, this is the theory that a black hole emits electromagnetic radiation. This will eventually end with the black hole evaporating into space and disappearing altogether.
Are black holes spheres?
We know that black holes have a large gravitational pull, which means that astronomers believe them not to be flat, but actually to be spherical in shape.
Overall, black holes are one of the most studied parts of astronomy within the last few decades, as they’ve become more and more intriguing to astronomers to determine their cause.