What is a black hole

(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 not even light can escape their grasp if it gets 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, the first-ever image of a black hole was released in collaboration with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). The EHT spotted the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy as the telescope scanned the event horizon, or region from which nothing can escape.

The image depicts the sudden loss of photons (particles of light). It also opened up a whole new area of ​​research into black holes, now that astronomers know what a black hole looks like.

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

The smallest of these are known as primordial 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 holes are called “stellar” ones. The mass of a stellar black hole can be up to 20 times the mass of the Sun and can fit inside a ball about 15 kilometers in diameter. There could be dozens of stellar-mass black holes in the Milky Way galaxy.

The largest black holes are called “supermassive”. These black holes have a mass in excess of 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 contains a supermassive black hole at its center.

The supermassive black hole at 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 in diameter.


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