Black holes are a fascinating topic that has become of great interest to scientists. The study of them will likely keep people busy for another century! They are like a dark void that has never been seen before. The way they absorb all light around them and reflect none of it is why people call them “black” because no one knows what color they really are!
Facts About Black Holes
- The gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that time slows the closer you get to it.
- Material spirals into a black hole through an accretion disk, which is actually made up of gas and dust that are being sucked into the gravity well.
- Scientists have long been intrigued by the point of no return around a black hole. This is called the event horizon, and it represents a region where gravity overcomes momentum as materials spiral in an accretion disk near its center.
- In the 18th century, people began to believe that black holes existed. However, they remained a mathematical curiosity until 1964 when scientists found their first candidate for one!
- Black holes have a lot of secrets; they don’t emit their own light and are only found when other objects give off the black hole’s radiation or its gravitational effect.
Famous Black Holes
Cygnus X-1: The binary system of the blue supergiant variable star and a stellar-mass black hole is 6,500 light-years away. The x-ray source thought to be the black hole could also have been emitted by the nearby pulsar wind nebula or from another object altogether!
Sagittarius A*: Is a supermassive black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. It lies in the direction of Sagittarius, and contains 4 million suns worth of mass – more than any other known object!
M87: The jet of superheated material is so massive that it extends across 5,000 light-years and emits gamma rays. The black hole at the center has a 3.5 billion solar-mass circumference with its disk sending off streams of energy in every direction like an electromagnetic field seen from space.
Centaurus A: The vibrant, glowing M87 galaxy is 3.5 billion light-years away and has an elliptical shape that shines brightly in the sky. The black hole at its heart weighs in at just under 4 million times our sun’s mass and emits a jet of super-heated material across 5,000 light-years from core to edge.