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Black Hole is a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape. Learn what are they made of? Could our Sun become a Black Hole?

NEWS:   NASA's NuSTAR Helps Solve Riddle of Black Hole Spin

Two X-ray space observatories, NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, have teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a black hole.

The supermassive black hole lies at the dust- and gas-filled heart of a galaxy called NGC 1365, and it is spinning almost as fast as Einstein's theory of gravity will allow.

Black Hole Spin Picture


What is a Black Hole?

A black hole is an area in space where gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape from it and appears black. Nothing can escape from a black hole.

It is not really a hole and it is not empty. It is filled with a lot of material squeezed into an extremely small space. As a result this is what gives a black hole its super strong gravity.

How are black holes made?

Scientists think that black holes are created in places where matter gets extremely dense. This can happen in the centers of large galaxies or when a giant star collapses and shrinks during the final phases of its life.

Black Hole Picture

A Black Hole Concept Drawing by NASA.

Types of Black Holes

There are three types of black holes:

1. Stellar Black Holes: Form when a massive star collapses.

These are created when massive stars reach the ends of their lives and run out of fuel, exploding in powerful blasts called supernovas. The left-over material from the explosion collapses into itself and becomes a black hole. A typical stellar-mass black hole contains the mass of about 10 suns.

2. Supermassive Black Holes: have a mass equivalent to billions of suns. They are likely to exist in the centers of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy.

3. Miniature Black Holes: No one has ever discovered a miniature black hole. The mass would be much smaller than that of our Sun.

Is there a black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy?

There is a very large black hole at the center of our galaxy. It has a mass of about three million suns and is located 24,000 light-years from Earth.

Size

Black Hole is a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape.

Locations

It is now believed that at the center of each galaxy there is a super-massive black hole. Many have already been detected.

Event Horizon

Event Horizon is the critical distance at which nothing can escape. Even light cannot travel back out of a black hole after crossing the Event Horizon.

History

John Michell of England and Pierre-Simon Laplace of France independently suggested the existence of an 'invisible star' using Newton’s Laws in the late 1790s.

In 1915, Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted the existence of black holes.

In 1967 John Wheeler, an American theoretical physicist, applied the term 'black hole' to these collapsed objects.

Discovery

Cygnus X-1 was the first object to be considered a black hole. No black hole has actually been imaged in a telescope.

Spacecraft

Scientists use spacecraft to answer questions about the origin, evolution and destiny of black holes. These include: Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Swift satellite, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and Nustar.

Also check Black Hole Pictures.


Did you know?

* Could the sun become a black hole?

No, the sun is much too small to ever become a black hole. A star has to be much more massive than the sun before it can collapse into a black hole.

Black Hole Links:

Black Hole - Types:
NASA - What Is a Black Hole?

Reference:

A Black Hole Concept Drawing by NASA:


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Copyright © 2000-2014 Vic Stathopoulos. All rights reserved.

Updated: Tuesday 1st, April, 2014

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