What is a black hole?

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Black holes are one of the strangest and most interesting objects in space. They are extremely dense, with such a strong gravitational pull that even light cannot escape their grip if it comes close enough.

Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of black holes in 1916 with his general theory of relativity. The term “black hole” was introduced many years later – in 1967, by the American astronomer John Wheeler. After decades when black holes were known only as theoretical objects, the first physical black hole was discovered in 1971.

Then, in 2019, in collaboration with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the first ever black hole image was released. EHT spotted a black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy when the telescope examined the event horizon or an area from which nothing could escape. The image displays the sudden loss of photons (particles of light). It also opened up a whole new field of research in the field of black holes, now that astronomers know what a black hole looks like.

Black holes come in many sizes, but there are three main types of black holes. The mass and size of a black hole determine its appearance.

The smallest of them are known as primary black holes. Scientists believe that this type of black hole is as small as a single atom, but with the mass of a large mountain.

The most common type of medium-sized black hole is called stellar. The mass of a stellar black hole can be up to 20 times the mass of the Sun and can fit inside a ball with a diameter of about 15 kilometers. Dozens of stellar mass black holes can exist in the Milky Way galaxy.

The largest black holes are called “supermassive.” These black holes have a mass exceeding 1 million suns combined, and they would fit inside a ball about the diameter of the solar system. Scientific evidence suggests that every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole in its center. A supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A. It has a mass of about 4 million suns and would fit inside a ball about the size of the Sun.

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