The universe is an incredible span of the unknown. There are so many things that we are yet to discover or understand. Black holes are one of the most interesting mysteries of the universe. Although we have recently received our very first photo of a black hole, there are still so many things that we don't know about it.
Here is a list of some of the most interesting things that you may not have known about black holes.
1. A Photo After Many Years of Waiting
After years of speculating about the existence of black holes, physicists were beginning to lose hope about ever being able to see a black hole in their lives. Even though it seemed like this was a dream that was never going to come true for scientists, the bac hole has finally been captured.
On April 19th, 2019, an actual black hole was captures by a camera. The name given to the black hole is Messier 87, and the scientist responsible for the image is Dr. Katie Bouman. The black hole is about 55 million light years away from our planet.
2. Black Holes Produce A Sound
Perhaps not something that you expect from the magnificent black hole, but it turns out that sound is something that scientists can pick up from black holes.
Namely, a chirping sound was recorded in 2015 from an area where it is believed that two black holes collided. The phenomenon was captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Even though the sound from the collision was captured recently, scientists believe that it took place 1.3 billion years ago. There is much to be learned from space by the sound that reach the earth, which means that scientists are always working on monitoring any incoming sound from space.
3. Black Holes Cause Time Warps
Another freaky ability of black holes is that they can cause time warps. Imagine them having the ability to affect your daily life to the point where they dramatically slow down time.
The actual size of black holes is very difficult for laymen to comprehend. The masses of black holes are billions of times larger than the Sun. The closer you get to a black hole, the more time as we understand it would slow down. This theory was created by Einstein, who believed that any massive body could have this effect. Although it all sounds very strange, these occurrences are actually quite common in the universe.
4. They Could Become A Source of Energy
We are still far from achieving this particular goal, but it is indeed extraordinary that black holes may not be as destructive as we think them to be. In fact, there is serious potential for us to use the energy of black holes for our own energy supplies here on Earth.
In fact, some scientists believe that we could even use black holes for achieving our goal of space travel. Many of these things are still in the theory stages, but considering the recent actual appearance of a black hole, the sky is the limit.
5. Creators of New Universes
Other theories have speculated that black holes have the ability to aid in creation. Inside their massive size and power, black holes actually create elements which are vital for the creation and sustainability of life. There is much more research that needs to be completed in this area, but scientific research is slowly reaching the answers it needs.
Black holes are believed to have the power to create a universe inside them. In fact, some scientists believe that even our universe may have been created from the power of a black hole and not through the Big Bang. There could be numerous baby universes inside the many black holes in our universe which we have not registered yet.
6. 20,000 Light Years Away
In order to get a bit of an insight into a light year and how this distance actually works, we need to understand what a light year is. A light year is the distance that light travels in the span of one year. There are approximately six trillion miles in a light year. That a lot of distance to cover.
This is important when it comes to black holes because the black holes that is nearest to us is 20,000 light years away. That's a lot of miles to cover, and it is certainly a distance that humanity cannot even dream about reaching at this point in time. And yet, we were able to register this black hole even from such a distance.
7. Black Holes Could Disappear
It is truly a shame that Stephen Hawking did not live to see the first image of a black hole that was recently recorded earlier this year. His theories have come under scrutiny and yet many of them turned out to be true. "Hawking Radiation" is another one of his theories.
In this theory, Hawking outlined that black holes could actually go through a process of evaporation. These giants radiate small particles, which would eventually lead to the mass of the black hole drastically reducing, until it reaches a point where it no longer exists.
8. The Time Hawking Was Wrong
Much of Hawking's life was dedicated to the research of black holes, so it is no wonder that he would occasionally have fun with his fellow scientists. In fact, during one friendly wager on the topic of black holes between Hawking and fellow scientist Kip Thorne, Hawking was actually wrong about the existence of a particular black hole.
In 1974, the two scientists were disagreeing about a radiation source coming from Cygnus X-1 (a galactic X-Ray source). Thorne believed that it was coming from a black hole, while Hawking did not. In the end, Hawking admit his defeat when the source was recognized as that coming from a black hole.
9. The First Recognized Black Hole
Interestingly, the one time that Hawking was wrong about black holes is the same time that the first black hole was actually discovered. Cygnus X-1 was the first black hole to ever be officially recorded in existence. The black hole was registered during a rocket flight back in 1971.
Although there are not many clear images of Cygnus X-1, its existence is undeniable because of the extraordinary radiation that we can detect from it all the way from Earth. Since then, more black holes have been discovered in the universe and each one has enormous energy power.
In astrophysics, spaghettification is a process which describes what would happen to objects that came close to a black hole. It refers to the horizontal compression and at the same time vertical stretching of an object that comes close to a black hole. Essentially, this process would make the object become very elongated due to the extreme tidal forces that are found in black holes.
Before its destruction, the object would stretch very long and thin, before eventually breaking up due to the sheer force of the black hole. Although this is very interesting to know, it is also terrifying to image.
11. Black Holes Aren't Suction Holes
Black holes are often described as masses that suck everything inside themselves. This is how they were often portrayed both in movies and in literature. However, this is not exactly the case. Black holes and not the same as whirlpools. It is not their rotation or their position which brings outside objects towards them.
In fact, black objects are somewhat similar to every other kind of massive object in space. They have an overwhelmingly strong gravitational pull, which is the reason why foreign objects move towards black holes when they come close to them. It seems like things are being swallowed by black holes, but it's actually just gravity doing its job.
12. Black Holes Hold Everything Together
It turns out that we may have to thank black holes for a lot more than we realize. As intimidating as they look out there in space, some scientists have concluded that black hole are actually responsible for holding a universe together. Additionally, scientists have added that it is possible that each galaxy has a black hole holding everything together.
Without black holes, who knows what kind of chaos would occur in our galaxy and other galaxies in the universe. Sagittarius A is the black hole which is known to be at the center of our galaxy, and its distance from us 30,000 light years, as well as being four million times larger than the Sun.
13. Could Our Sun Become A Black Hole?
Our Sun is the ne of the most important elements when it comes to sustaining life on our planet. None of us would survive without it. In fact, neither nature nor the human race would have developed without it. However, we know that the Sun will not last forever and that a time will come when it will either disappear or explode. But will it then become a black hole?
This will not happen in our lifetime, but that doesn't mean that science should not work on developing an answer. According to scientists, as extraordinary as our Sun is, it would never become a black hole. Compared to the size of other black holes, the Sun is too small compared to other stars in the universe and thus would not form a black hole if it exploded.
14. Too Many Black Holes to Comprehend
We cannot yet comprehend how large the universe truly is. Despite all of the remarkable work that science has achieved so far, we are still not able to grasp the size of the universe beyond our planet. Thus, we are also not able to grasp the true number of black holes that exist in it.
Some scientists believe that our galaxy alone is home to about 100 million black holes. As we previously mentioned, each of one them is home to galaxies and universes of their own, meaning that there are so many worlds out these that we know nothing about.
15. Black Holes Are Practically Invisible
Massive as they are, you would think that black holes would be easy to spot out there in the universe. In fact, some people have even tried to capture them with a hobbyist's telescope, hoping that their enormous size would make them visible.
However, black holes are very difficult to see, even for experienced scientists who have the latest scientific equipment available to help them. This is because the gravitational pull of black holes is so huge that even light cannot escape it, which gives them the perfect camouflage.
16. The Point of No Return
Although we are not going to experience this ourself, it is interesting to know what happens when something gets close to a black hole. If you like watching science fiction movies, you've probably heard about "the point of no return."
When it comes to black holes, this is the point where the power of a black hole's gravity is so strong that there is simply no going back. Anything that crosses this point will never be able to escape from it again. This is also referred to as "the event horizon."
17. The Beautiful Accretion Disk
If you take away the looming danger that is the very existence of a black hole, we can step back and actually arvel in its beauty. Many things happen continuously around a black hole, many that we don't know much about either, and yet, all of them combined are what bring up the visual image of a black hole that was captured in the recent photograph of a black hole this year.
Around the black hole is a constant circulation of stars, planets, dust, and gas. From a distance, the orbit of these elements is know as the accretion disk, something that is truly beautiful to look at and that comes in various colors and shapes.
18. Different Types of Black Holes
From how many millions of black holes there are in the universe, it is perhaps not surprising to consider the thought that there are actually different types of black holes out there. Each one is an enormous mass of a gravitational pull, but the amount of energy that each one is able to give out is not the same between them.
This is why black holes can actually be divided into those which are electrical, spinning, or a combination of those two types. They are also divided into stellar black holes (when a large star collapses), supermassive black holes (the giants of the bunch), and intermediate black holes.
19. The Formation of Black Holes
The formation of black hole is an extraordinary event which would certainly be magnificent to view if we could. The birth of a black hole starts from the existence of a massive star, much larger than our own Sun. As this star burns through many years, it eventually reaches a point where it is about to collapse in on itself.
This moment when the star collapses is at first the burst of a supernova, a star which has exploded. What remains behind from this massive explosion could eventually be recognizes as a black hole. But it is important to mention that scientists still have much to learn about them.
20. Black Holes Have Hair?
When it comes to cosmic objects and their 'hair', the terms refers to differentiating information about a black hole besides its spinand mass. Initially, it was thought that black holes don't have hair because their gravitational pull would drag everything else inside of it.
However, Stephen Hawking was able to form a theory which suggests that black holes do indeed have hair, which is made up of zero-energy particles, which contain even more vital information about the black hole. After Hawking's death, this has still remained a theory although an interesting one.
21. The Fountains of Black Holes
Although they are not the kinds of fountains that we are currently used to on our planet, it seems that black holes are able to sport a few fountains of their own. Even though nothing is supposed to be able to escape a black hole, the dust and gas that circle around a black hole are actually not close enough to be entirely sucked into it.
As they circle around the black hole, they create a beautiful display that is reminiscent of a fountain. Because of the heat that rises among these elements, large rings form around them and add to the visual perception of something that very much looks like a fountain.
22. A Wall of Fire
This is another theory which has been brought forward by the late Stephen Hawking and it is specifically related to Hawking Radiation. This enormous radiation that is related to black holes (some of which we are even able to notice from Earth) cases a lot of fuss between subatomic particles as they rush around the black hole.
Some of them will be sucked into the black hole, while others will remain on the outside. Apparently, as the black hole destroys the bond between these particles, the outcome is a huge amount of energy which would end make making it seem as if black holes are surrounded by a huge wall of fire.
23. Could Black Holes Be Dark Matter?
Dark matter is the mysterious substance that the majority of the cosmos seems to be made of. The idea of dark matter is still very much in theory stages, but as we learn more about black holes, we are also learning more about dark matter.
Namely, when the Big Bang explosion occurred, some scientists believe that many black holes would have formed due to this large explosion. These initial black holes are often referred to as primordial black holes, and there are some theories which believe that these black holes are indeed the mysterious black matter. However, this is still very much a controversial idea.
24. Black Holes Can Eat Each Other
As if these giants in space were not scary enough, it turns out that black holes are actually able to eat each other. According to the theory, this is something that happens all the time, even though we are not able to see it happening from where we are on earth.
This happens when two galaxies merge somewhere in the far distance of space. This is still a relatively new concept among astrophysicists, and it is yet to be described in even more detail. Scientists did recorded proof of one black holes being consumed the galaxy that we are observing, and it was called NGC3393.
25. Black Holes Also Spit Things Out
Black holes are almost always known for swallowing up everything that comes in their reach. However, research has also shown that black holes are actually catapulting things out of them and hurling them through space at incredible speeds.
For example, scientists have noticed that a black holes called H1743-322, about 28,000 light years away from us, is catapulting dangerous bullets into space at very high speeds. These cosmic bullets are incredibly dangerous for any planet that may find itself in their path. Especially because it is still questionable whether or not we would be able to notice one of these bullets coming towards us in time.
26. Einstein Wasn't the First to Come Up with the Black Hole Theory
It is always somewhat disheartening when original creators are forgotten somewhere in the far history of our past. The theory of black holes is also one which has suffered this problem, one that has recently been revealed to the general public.
Although most us believe that Einstein was the first person to come up with the theory of black holes back in 1916, this is not true. Einstein was certainly the one who revived the theory and who worked hard on it, but the first person to come up with the theory was in fact John Mitchell back in 1783. He was the first one who mentioned that there may a gravitational force so strong that it could even pull light.
27. Black Holes and Wormholes
Many scientists have speculated what actually happens when an object enters a black hole. Many believe that it is simply destroyed forever and none of its components would ever be found again. However, a theory that was proposed by Einstein decades ago suggests that black holes could lead us to wormholes.
If this were the case, wormholes would be able to transfer an object to another universe faster than the speed of light. This would make our hopes of time travel possible. However, this is also just a theory for now.
28. Black Holes Can Grow to Infinite Proportions
Black holes keep growing as long as there is something that can feed them in size. In fact, there is no limit to how large a black hole can actually grow! The things that makes black holes larger are gas and matter that can be found in space in various forms.
Because the gravity of black holes attracts things in space, the more matter that enters the black hole the larger the black hole will become. And since there is an almost infinite amount of matter rushing through space, there is no limit to how large a black hole can get.
29. They Stick Together
It turns out that black holes don't like to be alone. According to scientists, when it comes to the large supermassive black holes, it is not likely that they were formed from a single star. Instead, scientists believe that star clusters and possibly even small black holes smash together to form the supermassive one.
In fact, some research suggests that there be as many as twelve black holes circling the center of the Milky Way! and as many as 20,000 others could be swirling somewhere on the outside.
30. Black Holes Get Ejected Themselves
It turns out that black holes may have some relationship troubles of their own. According to astronomers, it is possible that black holes can sometimes be ejected from their galaxies, sending them a long distance away from their original location.
The reason why this happens is the merging of gigantic black holes. The sheer force that is formed when this happens is enough to throw small black holes away from their original location.