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What We Know About Black Holes

What We Know About Black Holes

HARIDHA P 135 30-Dec-2022

Black holes are among the oddest and most intriguing celestial bodies. They have a gravitational pull so powerful and so dense that not even light can evade them. Although it is incredibly challenging to find these ravenous monsters, the Milky Way may include more than 100 million black holes. 

A supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* is located at the centre of the Milky Way. According to a NASA statement, the enormous structure is located about 26,000 light-years from Earth and has a mass that is almost 4 million times that of the sun (opens in new tab). The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration made history in 2019 by taking the first picture of a black hole.


With the general theory of relativity, Albert Einstein made the first prediction about black holes in 1916. John Wheeler, an American astronomer, first used the term 'black hole' in 1967, which was several years later. after years in which they were solely understood as hypothetical entities. T

he Milky Way's Cygnus, the Swan, constellation contains the Milky Way's first black hole, known as Cygnus X-1. NASA claims that in 1964, astronomers discovered the black hole's initial indications when a sounding rocket discovered astronomical X-ray sources (opens in new tab). The X-rays were found to be originating from a bright blue star orbiting a mysterious dark object in 1971, according to researchers.


Approximately one out of every thousand stars is large enough to develop into a black hole, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute(opens in new tab) (STScI). Over 100 billion stars make up the Milky Way, so there must be over 100 million black holes in our galaxy. 

Despite the difficulty of finding black holes, NASA estimates(opens in new tab) that the Milky Way may contain between 10 million and a billion stellar black holes. 'The Unicorn,' the name of the nearest black hole to Earth, is located about 1,500 light-years away. The moniker has two connotations. In addition to being located in the constellation Monoceros, the black hole candidate ('the unicorn')


The outer and inner event horizons as well as the singularity are the three 'layers' of black holes. An event horizon is the area surrounding a black hole's mouth beyond which light cannot travel. 

The event horizon is a barrier that a particle cannot pass through. Everywhere along the event horizon, gravity is constant. A black hole's singularity, or the one place in space-time where all of the item's mass is concentrated, is the area inside of the object that contains its mass.

Black holes cannot be seen by scientists in the same way that stars and other celestial objects can. Black holes cannot be seen by scientists in the same way that stars and other celestial objects can. Astronomers must instead rely on observing the radiation that black holes generate when gas and dust are pulled into the massive objects. 

However, because of the dense gas and dust surrounding them, which can mask the telltale emissions, supermassive black holes that are at the galactic centre may become cloaked. When matter is attracted toward a black hole, it may occasionally bounce off the event horizon and be flung outward rather than being pulled into the gaping mouth. 

The result is the creation of bright jets of matter moving at nearly relativistic speeds. These strong jets can be observed at considerable distances, but the black hole itself is still invisible.


Theorists have long hypothesised that if you went toward a black hole, gravity would cause you to splay out like spaghetti, but you would die before you reached the singularity. The event horizon, however, is thought to behave like a wall of fire that would instantaneously burn you to death, according to a 2012 study that was published in the journal Nature(opens in new tab). Black holes are not bad things. 

A vacuum is what causes suction, which the enormous black hole most surely is not. Instead, objects fall into them in the same way as they fall toward objects with gravity, such the Earth. Cygnus X-1 is the first thing that is thought to be a black hole. Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne engaged in a friendly bet regarding Cygnus X-1 in 1974, with Hawking betting that the source was not a black hole. Hawking gave up the fight in 1990. It's possible that shortly after the Big Bang, tiny black holes formed. 

Some regions may have been crammed into tiny, dense black holes that are smaller than the sun as a result of space's rapid expansion. A star may be shattered if it approaches a black hole too closely (opens in new tab). Between 10 million and 1 billion stellar black holes, each with a mass roughly equivalent to that of the sun, are thought to exist in the Milky Way, according to astronomers.

Science fiction books and movies continue to make excellent use of black holes. View 'Interstellar,' which significantly included science using Thorne's work. Thorne's collaboration with the film's special effects crew helped scientists better comprehend what faraway stars from the sky would seem like when they are located close to a rapidly spinning black hole.

A passionate writer, blogger, language trainer, co-author of the book 'Irenic' and an enthusiastic learner. Interest includes travelling places and exploring.

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