Have you ever thought about what exactly black holes are? Why is everyone so fascinated by it? When Albert Einstein wrote a paper in 1939, he had doubts that black holes and concluded in his paper Annals of Mathematics that black holes did not exist in the real world as it was so radical that he had strong misgivings. It took many decades for people to know the physical concepts of a black hole, and it was finally accepted. So, let’s get to know what exactly a black hole is.
What is a black hole?
A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that matter becomes tiny and squeezes into a small place, and even light cannot get out.
Here what you see is not what you get; people can’t see the black hole; they are invisible; only special tools will help to identify stars behaving differently in the presence of it.
Interesting Fact: Milky Way has a Black hole, Aaaah!
How big is a black hole?
Black holes might be big or small but have an immense mass. However, there are different kinds of black holes, where one of them is called “stellar”; this mass is up to 20% more than our Sun. There are many stellar back holes in Earth’s galaxy (Milky Way).
The giant black holes in the universe that are “supermassive” these masses are more than millions of suns put together. Scientists have proven that a supermassive black hole there exists. This holds the entire galaxy, such as at the center of Milky Way is called Sagittarius A.
Why are black holes “black”? How do scientists know that they are present?
Black hole gravity pulls the stars towards it; scientists will get to know that by understanding the star’s behavior, whether it is standing still, orbiting, or flying around.
When black holes and stars are close to each other, high-energy light is made. This light cannot be seen through human eyes; it can be seen through special telescopes.
As the black holes are born, the mass increases as any matter fall into them, including gases stripped from neighboring stars and even other black holes.
Interesting fact: If you enter into a black hole, the time appears to be slower or faster as you will be close to the speed of light. It warps the time and space so that the time seems to be running slower.
Will it ever destroy Earth?
No, you don’t have to worry that Earth will ever fall into a black hole. Even if there are any black holes with the same mass as the Sun, they will have the same gravity as Sun. Earth will orbit around the black hole. And, our Sun won’t be turning into it as it is not a big enough star.
A picture worth 10,000 words!
Nearly a century after Albert Einstein said that there might be a black hole in nature, in 2019, humanity was able to see a place where space and time are mutually exclusive for the first time.
We have seen what we thought was invisible. Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has captured the epic imagery. The photos were released that outlines the black holes lurking in the elliptical galaxy M87.
The EHT consists of 200 scientists all over the world working for about two decades. The project took time as it is a point of no return. The EHT teams targeted the distance around 26,000 light-years from us, and M87’s black hole is a whopping 53.5 million light-years away. It is like comparing to an orange finding on the moon.
As one telescope depend on looking into the black hole, there were several radio telescopes linked around the world from Mexico to Antarctica. This made data more complicated and time-consuming.
To see this ring with such hard work from scientists is an achievement, but without their journey and finding, it would have been lost in the undiscovered universe as we know it!