Like the previous post, the information presented below comes from the television documentary How the Universe Works, more specifically, the episode “Black Holes”. Once again, if you question or doubt any information presented in the following article, conduct your own research, and bring your findings to the comments section below.
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Black Holes used to be the unicorns of astronomy. As in, no one believed they really existed. But then scientists found more and more evidence of their existence, and now they are the most fascinating things in the universe. In fact, according to modern evidence, they are a fundamental part of the universe and how it works.
Black holes are not created by supernovas. I know, I thought so too, but let me continue. A regular supernova creates a nebula. What is needed for a black hole is much more powerful than that. The star has to be so huge, that when it explodes, it creates enough gravity to crush itself and suck in every speck of light in its surrounding vicinity. This type of explosion is called a hypernova. Yes, it is a supernova, but it’s so much more powerful it gets a different name.
Apparently some black holes can move around. The narrator mentioned black holes being in our cosmic neighborhood, but he failed to mention how far away the nearest black hole is. He then went on to describe the damage a black hole can cause if it enters our Solar System. As much as this worries me, I found reassurance in this article from Universe Today. It’s a few years old, but I think How the Universe Works is as well. In any case, th nearest black hole is 6,000 lightyears away, and it’s not likely it will move in our direction anytime soon.
Like stars and planets, black holes comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are so huge, they are supermassive. Supermassive black holes are so large, entire galaxies surround them. If moons revolve around planets, planets revolve around suns, what do suns revolve around? Supermassive black holes. Our Milky Way Galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center. Andromeda, our nearest galaxy neighbor, has a supermassive black hole at its center. In fact, nearly every galaxy we’ve discovered has a supermassive black hole at the center.
How do we know this? The bright area of light at the center of each galaxy. The light is caused by the vast amounts of erratic orbits created by suns as they orbit around the black hole. These orbits are so tight and many, astronomers have yet to get a clear picture of the black hole’s silhouette. And the black hole is so massive, observatories across the globe have to team up to get a picture of the entire thing.
Not only is the gravity of a black hole so powerful even light can’t escape, said gravitational pull is so different, objects stretch when crossing the event horizon. Say your mortal enemy is lying across the event horizon with his or her feet towards the black hole.* The gravity felt at his or her feet would be vastly different than the gravity felt at his or her head. The effect of which would cause your enemy’s legs to stretch across the event horizon and into the black hole.
Time also stops around a black hole. If you observe an object crossing the event horizon (like your mortal enemy), you will see them cross and then stop even though they are probably continuing doing what they were doing.
Comment Question: Do you watch documentaries on the television? Which ones are your favorite?
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* I’d say you are lying there, but thinking about all this happening to yourself is quite frightening. So I suggested someone in your life more preferable. You’re welcome.