Black Holes Are Interesting

Claudia Tegtman, Staff Writer

A black hole is an area in space that has such a strong gravitational force that not even light can travel through it. 3,000 light years away resides the closest black hole that we’re aware of (V616), sizing up to be much bigger than the earth itself; so it would be nice to have some information on these mysterious masses.

Black holes are invisible. This might seem strange, but the force of gravity is so strong that they not only pull in tangible matter, but also light in as well. If that’s the case then finding them out in space would be pretty difficult, although it is possible. Black holes are spotted by noting the gravitational pull of matter and stars, and where that gravitational pull is directed; as well as light and lack of, to get a good indication of where one might be.

Of course, black holes have the possibility to be extremely massive in size, but that isn’t always the case. In a binary system that goes by the name of  XTE J1650-500, a black hole with the mass of 3.8 times that of the sun had been found. But black holes are known to be huge and dangerous, and huge they can be, as shown in the galaxy named NGC 1277. The black hole that resides there has the mass of about 17 billion suns. Thankfully, this galaxy is 250 million light years away from ever reaching Earth.

This is good and all, but how do black holes come to be? It just so happens to be that when a star collapses on itself it can form a black hole, which could then get bigger by absorbing the mass from other stars. This also makes them extremely condensed. The pull that these masses have is so strong that if one were to replace the sun with a black hole, the planets would continue to orbit around it as if nothing had changed at all. Not to worry though, as the closest black hole is 3,000 light years away, which is too far to do anything to the Milky Way, let alone swallow Earth.

The one to realize the existence of black holes was Albert Einstein with his theory of relativity back in 1916. Not too long after in the year 1971, the first black hole was found, although right now it’s still not known exactly what a black hole looks like and only educated guesses can be made on the information we have on them thus far.  It has also been discovered that black holes do not have a lifespan, unless they evaporate on their own, which would take much longer than the current age of the universe.

Hopefully that clears up some misunderstandings that people have with the possibility of a black hole bringing harm to the human population, and hopefully more insight on how they came to be and what they can even do. Black holes aren’t mysterious caving mouths distributed around the universe, but rather a completely justifiable occurrence that people are slowly beginning to understand.