5 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Holes
If you’ve ever found yourself gazing at the night sky, then you’ve probably also wondered what happens if you fall into a black hole. If you look closely enough, you might even be able to see one! What? You can see black holes? Here are five things that you didn’t know about these mysterious entities in space.
1) What Is A Black Hole?
If you ask one physicist, he or she might tell you that a black hole is an object so massive that its escape velocity exceeds that of light. If you ask another, they’ll tell you it’s a region of space-time with such strong gravitational effects that nothing can escape: not even light.
2) The Event Horizon
A black hole’s event horizon is a boundary in space-time beyond which nothing can escape. The closer to a black hole you are, the stronger its gravitational pull will be on you. Eventually, if you were close enough, gravity would become so strong that nothing could escape – not even light. That’s why it’s called an event horizon: you literally can’t see what happens beyond it.
Quasars are some of the brightest things in our universe, emitting up to 50 times more energy than an entire galaxy of stars. But despite their power, quasars aren’t actually stars themselves—instead, they’re black holes whose incredible gravitational pull is forcing nearby gas and dust into a beam that jets out at nearly two-thirds of light speed.
4) Supermassive Black Holes
All black holes are difficult to detect because they don’t emit light, but supermassive black holes are even more challenging to spot. They often hide at centers of galaxies and can weigh in excess of 3 billion times that of our sun. Because these objects are so difficult to observe directly, astronomers rely on their gravitational effects on nearby stars and other bodies.
Technically, black holes aren’t wormholes—black holes are collapsed stars. The same physics, however, is at play: They both suck up everything that comes close to them, including light. But a wormhole can connect different points in space-time—so it would be able to tunnel from here to a distant galaxy in no time flat. The problem is getting out of a black hole once you’re inside.