In recent years scientists have been closing in on one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe, understanding the fundamentals of Black Holes. Using the best telescopes around the globe, hundreds of scientists worked together over many years to finally glimpse the edges of Black Holes.
1. What is a Black Hole?
Black holes have gravitational fields so strong that even light cannot escape. Because no light can get out, we cannot see them, they are invisible.
2. Black Hole at the Centre of the Milky Way
At the heart of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. This immense structure has a mass equal to about 4 million suns and lies approximately 26,000 light-years away from Earth.
3. Black Holes are Everywhere!
Scientists believe there could be over 100 million black holes just in the Milky Way alone. Using theoretical calculations, they estimate that black holes could make up 1% of all the matter in the universe.
4. Could Earth Fall into a Black Hole?
Lucky for us, Earth is too far away from any black holes to be consumed. Even if a Black Hole with the same mass as the Sun sat where our Sun is, Earth would continue to orbit around it because the gravity would be the same as the Sun.
5. What is the Event Horizon?
The Event Horizon is the threshold or edge of a black hole, where once crossed over, there is no return. The closer you get to a black hole, the greater the speed you need to escape that massive gravity. At the event horizon the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light.
6. What Happens if you Fall into a Black Hole?
As you fall into a black hole, the gravitational pull of the black hole on your feet becomes much stronger than the pull on your head, stretching you in a process known as spaghettification. Also known as tidal disruption, the black hole’s gravity pulls apart an object, stretching it out vertically and compressing it horizontally, just like spaghetti!
6. Black Holes Evaporate!
Anti-matter/matter particles spontaneously appear near the edges of black holes. Normally these particles are attracted together like magnets and annihilate each other, but sometimes, one particle falls back into the black hole while the other escapes into the Universe. This phenomenon is known as Hawking Radiation and is responsible for black holes losing mass over long periods of time, or evaporating!
Want to see a black hole?
You might not be able to see Black Holes, but you can see where the largest Black Hole in the Milky Way is hidden, the heart of Sagittarius! Find out when and where to see it here