Black Holes-What Are They?

Yesterday in class, we had a very interesting lecture. Planet hunter Jason Wright came in to speak to us about his work and our universe. The topic of outer space has always interested me greatly, but because I am not much of a science person, I have never dug deeper into my interest. That is why I was very excited when I walked into class and heard about what we would be learning.

Jason gave some very fascinating information about the planet and our galaxy. For example, I never knew that the Milky Way has about 200 billion stars in it- that was shocking to me. I also loved learning that space is actually about 90% made up of dark matter. This is a topic that has always peaked my interest. It is a very mysterious subject and it raises a lot of questions for me. I posted a question to the comment wall black holes, and it never got answered, so I decided to take to upon myself to do some research. So, what are black holes?

According to National Geographic, the creation of black holes all start with a star. Eventually, the star burns out and dies. When that occurs, the outer layers of the star will continue on into space while the core of the star will remain. Eventually, the core gets sucked into a neutron star by gravity. The gravitational pull of these stars are incredible- they suck the core of the star in and crush every part of it. When this happens, a black hole is created.

Illustration of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy

Many scientists have disputed over the existence of black holes. Even Albert Einstein could not fathom the concept that gravity could be so powerful. However, back in Einstein’s time, they did not have the luxury of having the technology we have now. Since the invention of X-rays, scientists have used them to study space as they give a better picture of light. After studying space using X-Rays, scientists discovered that in the center of most galaxies, black holes did indeed exists. They found clusters of stars and dusts, which fit right in with the definition of black holes being areas that suck in stars and other space debris.  Although the article notes that nobody has actually seen a real black hole, there is enough statistical evidence out there to have scientists confidently say that black holes more than likely exist. As we have learned in this class, scientists can never 100% prove or disprove things, but extensive studies on this subject matter leave scientists confident of black hole’s existence.

Still curious about black holes, I decided to find out what would happen to an object if it happened to get sucked into a black hole. Unfortunately for me, this question cannot be answered. According to this article, it is hard to even tell the scope of a black hole. Simple determining the inside of one from the outside leaves scientists scratching their heads. However, we can deduct a few things about the inside of black holes from what we know. For starters, objects must move incredibly fast in order to escape black holes. One the inside, objects would have to move at impossible speeds to escape the pull of gravity. This is why it is so hard to gather data about the insides of these holes. Any sort of transmission to gather information just gets lost inside of the hole.  For now, we just have to wait for new technology to be developed before we can go exploring the insides of black holes.

Over-all, black holes are extremely interesting and I am so happy that Jason came in to talk to us about black holes among many other things!

Photo Credits

2 thoughts on “Black Holes-What Are They?

  1. Anna Strahle

    When I was younger I used to be terrified of black holes. I would constantly have nightmares about being sucked into the darkness. As I grew older this fear faded, but they still are a large question in my head. I would really like to learn more about them because maybe one day earth could be sucked into a black hole! According to a website known as Space Answers, the likelihood of a blackhole entering our solar system is one in a million. So the chances seem pretty slim which is good to know. However, the author explains that if one did enter our solar system, earth would be torn apart by the gravitational pull of the black hole. Yikes! To read more about it you can follow this link:

  2. Isaac Chandler Orndorff

    Good topic! I’d maybe relate it more to class more or get some sources in there, but I like it! Like you I have always been interested in black holes. The entire concept of how dense it is is just baffling to me. I hope that one day soon we can see the inside of a black hole or learn more about them. If you’re really interested in this topic, I would look at movies like Interstellar to see how we percieve they work and look.

    Here’s a video on how time works when you’re close to a black hole from Interstellar:

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