Nothing, not even light, can escape from black holes. We explain what these cosmic titans are and how they originate.
The heart of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole. That’s right: At the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, “casts a ‘shadow,’ [and has] a dark central region surrounded by a ring of glowing hot gas,” as described by the Telescope’s monitoring team. EHL. Although we know of its existence, the question is valid: what exactly is a black hole? And for what reason can nothing escape its gravitational influence?
Cosmic Singularities: What’s Inside a Black Hole?
“A black hole is an astronomical object with such a strong gravitational pull that nothing, not even light, can escape it,” explains NASA. In fact, on its Space Place platform, the space agency documents that they are not hollow at all:
“THEY ARE NOT EMPTY AT ALL! BLACK HOLES CONTAIN THE MOST MATTER IN THE SMALLER SPACE THAN ANY OTHER OBJECT IN THE UNIVERSE. BECAUSE THEY ARE SO COMPACT, THEY HAVE A GREAT FORCE OF GRAVITY.”
In fact, these cosmic objects are among the heaviest in the Universe. In turn, its gravitational force is so powerful that not even light can escape. Instead of reflecting the brightness of other elements in outer space, they swallow it up forever. The same happens with any type of matter that gets too close to them, adds NASA.
Why does a black hole form?
Black holes form when a star uses up all of its fuel. That is, when the end of their life is near, they expand until they become red giants. At this time, it can be said that his death process began. Thus, one of the types of black hole that exists is given rise.
As its name implies, a stellar-mass black hole is generated when a star ends its life cycle. Just as it happens with living beings, stars are born and die. The European Space Agency (ESA) explains that most stars will take millions of years to die. This is how they describe the phenomenon:
“WHEN A STAR LIKE THE SUN HAS CONSUMED ALL ITS HYDROGEN FUEL, IT EXPANDS BECOME A RED GIANT. IT CAN BE MILLIONS OF MILES IN DIAMETER,” DOCUMENTS THE SPACE AGENCY.
When the stars finally explode, they become a very compact, but very massive object: a black hole. Due to these characteristics, they acquire a great gravitational capacity. Comparatively, explains the ESA, “a teaspoon of matter from a white dwarf would weigh up to 100 tons”.
Although this phenomenon has been documented several times, not all stars turn into black holes when they die. In contrast, “most stars will never become black holes,” explains NASA.
supermassive black hole
The second type of black hole that exists is the ‘supermassive’. NASA compares them to a million solar masses, because of how truly massive it can get. Unlike stellar-mass black holes, however, it is not yet known exactly how they are generated or where they come from.
What is a constant is that they are generally found in the center of galaxies. Such a celestial body is located in the heart of our galaxy, for example. Known as Sagittarius A*, it is the closest supermassive black hole to Earth, some 25,500 light-years away.