One of the most interesting phenomena in the Universe seems to be the black hole. Do not let the name make you think of a black colour hole somewhere out there as it is anything but empty space. If you imagine shrinking a star that is ten times the mass of the Sun into a sphere roughly with the diameter of New York City, you are close enough to the topic we are about to dive into.
Fascinating enough, black holes are objects with tremendous density and such powerful gravitational attraction that not even light can pass through them. They are intriguing to many curious minds with their strange activities. For instance, a star passing too close to a black hole could end up being torn apart.
Keep scrolling to learn about some other mind-numbing facts about black holes so as to appreciate how wonderful and equally startling this Universe is.
9. Theoretically, anything can be made a black hole
If one can compress the Sun to a size of just 6 km across, then you would fit all of the mass in an incredibly small space, making it dense enough to represent a black hole. In reality, it is only known that a black hole is formed by the gravitational collapse of an extremely massive star that is 20 to 30 times more massive than the Sun.
8. New universes could come from black holes
Agreed that we are not sure if other universes exist, but the possibility that black holes could give birth to new universe is an ongoing active field of research. The singularity at the centre of black holes could theoretically change the conditions of our present universe and spawn a new, slightly altered universe.
7. Black holes do not just devour things, they spit them out too
And you thought an attempt to eat 193 courses in 24 hours was the longest? For the last decade, scientists have recorded an unfortunate star being swallowed by a black hole. Not that the black hole keeps stalking planets for meals but it sure slurps down anything orbiting too close.
Black holes are known to regularly eject planet-sized balls referred to as spitballs. One would wonder how something would escape such enormous gravitational pull. Spitballs are actually made up of matter that slips the accretion disk before passing the point of no return and coalesces into chunks.
6. Black holes actually stretch the space around them
The deeper a well made in space, the more space distorts and curves. Black holes are known to form the deepest of wells. No object has enough energy to climb back out of there. The immense gravity of the black holes could distort space itself, and as they continue spinning, the distortion gets even messier. Safe to call it a distortion on loop!
5. Black holes slow down time
Let us try to recall the experiment with the twins that is most commonly used to explain the time and space correlation. If you keep one twin on Earth while the other one is zoomed out into space at the speed of light, made to turn around and return home. The fact that the faster one moves, the slower time passes for them makes the twin that travelled through space significantly younger.
Gravity controls time, just as a clock runs slower near sea level than at a space station. Now let us imagine how slow it would go near a black hole! As one reaches the event horizon, one is moving at such high speeds that time is bound to slow down.
4. Ever heard of human spaghetti?
The gravitational pull of a black hole can literally stretch one into a long strand just like spaghetti. Aptly called ‘spaghettification’ or the noodle effect, this phenomenon is the vertical stretching and horizontal compression of objects into long thin shapes in an immense non-homogeneous gravitational field.
Nearing a black hole the feet begin stretching by the pull of gravity while becoming increasingly attracted towards the centre of the black hole. The closer one gets to the centre, the faster they move. But the top half of the body being farther away is not moving towards the centre as fast. Hence the stretch!
3. Because even giants perish
Hawking radiation (named after the scientist Stephen Hawking who first came up with it) disperses the mass of a black hole into space and over time and will continue to do so until there is nothing left, essentially killing it. Therefore it is also referred to as Black Hole evaporation.
2. Laws of physics fail at the centre of a black hole
Black holes are the densest objects known to exist. Try convincing yourself that a black hole with the mass of the entire Earth would only be 9 millimetres across.
As per theory, matter inside a black hole is crushed to infinite density, where space and time cease to exist. When this happens, the laws of physics fail because it is not practically possible to think of anything having zero volume and infinite density simultaneously.
1. The range of sizes they could possibly take is insanely vast
At one point, the collapsing core of a black hole could become even smaller than an atom or an electron, and it eventually reaches the Planck Length, a quantum size limit that makes it barely measurable. On the other hand, black holes get larger and larger as they collide with other black holes allowing their size to increase with every collision.
Having read all these above-mentioned crazy facts about black holes, it is difficult to apprehend how enormous, varied and astounding this universe is. Now try digesting this – there is a region in distant space where supermassive black holes in several galaxies are all aligned in the same direction. That means all of their gas emissions jets out as though they were synchronized by design, as if in a concert!! Happy comprehending!