10 Fun Facts About Black Holes

By Amy Lyons

What exactly is a black hole? Put simply, a black hole is a spot in the universe where there is a large gravity pull. Now, here are 10 fun facts about black holes!

1. You Can’t Directly See a Black Hole.

A black hole is called a black hole because of it’s color, especially since light can’t escape. What we can see, though, is the effects of a black hole. Analyzing the surrounding area of a black hole, we can see its effects upon its environment. For example, a star that’s close enough to a black hole can be seen being ripped apart.

2. Our Milky Way Probably Has a Black Hole.

But, don’t be alarmed, Earth isn’t in danger! The major black hole that astronomists believe to be within our Milky Way is light years away from Earth.

3. Dying Stars Lead to Stellar Black Holes.

The death of large stars lead to black holes, because a star’s gravity will overwhelm the star’s natural pressure that it maintains to keep its shape. When the pressure from the nuclear reactions collapses, gravity overwhelms and collapses the star’s core, and the star’s other layers are thrown off into space, and this process is also known as a supernova. The remainder of the core collapses, a spot overcome by density and without volume – a black hole.

4. There are Three Categories of Black Holes.

1) Primordial Black holes – These are the smallest of black holes and range from an atom’s size to a mountain’s mass.

2) Stellar Black Holes – These are the most common of black holes and they can be up to 20 times more massive than the Sun. There are also a variety of these all over the Milky Way.

3) Supermassive Black Holes – These are the largest of black holes, being more than 1 million times more massive than the Sun.

5. Black Holes Are Funky.

Say someone falls into a black hole and there’s an observer that witnesses this. The person who fell into the black hole’s time slows down, relative to the person watching. This is explained by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, which states that time is affected by how fast you are going when you’re at extreme speeds close to light.

6. The First Black Hole Wasn’t Discovered Until X-Ray Astronomy was Used.

Cygnus X-1 was the first black hole discovered in the 1960’s, and it’s 10 times more massive than the Sun.

7. The Closest Black Hole is Probably Not 1,600 Light-Years Away.

V4647 Sagitarii was thought to be 1,600 light-years away, but is further away than expected. Scientists now believe that this black hole is about 20,000 light years away.

8. We Don’t Know if Wormholes Exist.

We don’t know if this event exists, since we don’t know too much about physics, but that also means that anything may be possible.

9. Black Holes Are Only Dangerous if You Get Too Close.

Black holes are safe to observe from a lengthy distance, but not if you get too close, which also means that it’s unlikely for a black hole to consume an entire universe.

10. Black Holes Are Constantly Used in Science Fiction.

There are a multitude of black holes portrayals in science fiction. Many examples include:Interstellar, Event Horizon, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Treasure Island, Superman: The Animated Series, Transformers.

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