Interesting Facts

  • In the strictest and most exact sense, there are currently 14 known black holes.

  • The known closest black hole to Earth is Cygnus X-1, located about 8000 light years away.

  • Although black holes have a strong suction force, they may only suck up what crosses their event horizons, and, therefore, are not capable of absorbing the whole universe.

  • In theory, any matter can become black holes, as long as they are compressed to zero volume and thus, yielding infinite density. However, only the largest of stars have cores capable with the gravitational force to compress the star to the Schwarzschild radius. Most others stars without this gravitational force end up as neutron stars and white dwarfs.

  • Although whiteholes are mathematically possible, there have yet to be observations to prove their existence.

  • Black holes can suck up other black holes when they come in close proximity. Usually the larger one will suck up the smaller one. Depending on the size of the matter that is making up the black holes, the size of the black hole created will differ. Direct collisions between black holes are rare, as black holes are very small for their mass. Black holes may also merge.

  • Black Hole Fusion

  • The center of a black hole, the singularity, is the point where the laws of physics break down. These singularities are hidden, or 'clothed' by the black hole, so that the effects of the breakdown cannot be observed by people outside.

  • At the center of a black hole, spacetime has infinite curvature and matter is crushed to infinite density under the pull of 'infinite' gravity. At a singularity, space and time cease to exist as we know them. The laws of physics as we know them break down at a singularity, thus, making it impossible to envision something with zero volume and infinite density, such qualities of a black hole.

  • By using the correct equations for motion, it can be predicted that near a black hole, an object on a radial path will have a velocity approaching the speed. This occurs as the object approches the event horizon.

  • Stars are powered by nuclear fuel; most stars use hydrogen. The larger a star is, the faster it will use up its fuel, and thus, the sooner it "dies". If the stars are large enough, however, then the gravitational pull will crush the star to 'zero volume', or in the Schwarzschild radius. This forms a black hole.

  • As black holes, age, they gain more mass, as they suck in more matter
  • A black hole cannot be viewed directly because light cannot escape it. However, matter swirling around a black hole, usually gas and dust, heats up and emits radiation that can be detected. However, deep in the center of a supermassive black hole, stars can also be found.

  • On February 1997, the Hubble Space Telescope had a new instrument installed. Called the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), this equipment is the main black hole seeker on the telescope. A spectrograph splits any incoming light using prisms and diffraction gratings into a rainbow. The STIS can measure ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, allowing it to capture a wide range of places at once. The placement and intensity of the spectrum gives indispensable information to scientists. Every spectrum can be analyzed to find out the speed of which stars and gas swirl at a certain location. From this information, the mass of the object that the stars are orbiting can be found. A massive central object is found if the stars swirl quickly.

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