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Black Holes and Their Mysteries

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Black Holes and Their Mysteries

Black holes are one of the most popular Hollywood science fiction topics also one of the most mysterious entities in space. Astronomers still have many questions regarding the darkest entity in space, black holes, but over time they began to analyze more and more clues and data, and are now able to explain what a black hole really is. Astronomers have come up with theories of the formations of black holes, the component of black holes as well as many other new discovered facts. What is a black hole? There are many theories to this question. Some people believe it is a tunnel for time traveling, others believe it is a portal for teleportation. At this moment there are no scientific proofs to support these believes. There are still countless unanswered questions, questions like what is on the other end of the black hole. Why they exist? Can astronomers fully understand them? These questions may never be answered but here is what astronomers believe. Scientifically speaking a black hole is an area of space that have abnormally large amount of gravity, so much gravity that not even light can escape. There is no certain explanation of the formation of black holes. However astronomers currently have very solid theories of how they are formed. One of which is the theory that is stated by Stephen Hawking claiming that “trillions of black holes were produced in the Big Bang, with some still existing today.”

The main theory for larger black holes, the stellar black holes is that they are formed as results of super nova explosions. There are two types of super nova explosions. The first type is when a giant star, of or over, nine solar masses “run out of hydrogen and helium fuel at its core,” but still have enough mass and pressure and produces carbon. Once the star’s core reaches a certain mass it will overwhelm it self and implode. The second type of supernova is formed when a white dwarf star accumulates gas from a companion star. Eventually the white dwarf star becomes compressed. It will ultimately “set off a runaway nuclear reaction inside, that eventually leads to a cataclysmic supernova outburst.” In other words some black holes are formed when massive stars go through supernova explosions. The supernova compresses stars over nine solar masses into extremely small volume of space and this is the reason why black hole gravities are so strong, strong enough to trap light.

A black hole is composed of many parts. The point in the center of black holes is called a singularity. At a certain distance around the singularity the gravity will be strong enough to trap everything, light included. This is called the event horizon, also known as the point of no return. A general misconception is that people think the black hole just keeps on sucking everything in and nothing will escape. If this is true then the whole universe will eventually be swallowed by black holes. The reality is that entities that are farther and outside of the event horizon will simply orbit around it, much like how earth orbits around the sun.

How big and how heavy are black holes? Astronomers believe some black holes can be as small as a single atom but weighs as much as mountains. There are also stellar black holes. Many of these black holes exist in the Milky Way galaxy and may weigh more than twenty times as much as the sun. The largest black holes are located in the center of larger galaxies. These large black holes are called supermassive black holes and can be over one million masses of the sun. In the center of the Milky Way galaxies there is also a supermassive black hole, named Sagittarius A. This black hole is the equivalent of four million solar masses. It is the gravity for this black hole that holds the Milky Way galaxy together.

Black holes are not only classified by sizes (mass), they are also classified by spin and magnetic fields. Black holes that do not have spin and magnetic field are called a Schwarzschild black hole. Black holes that has a field but has no spin is named Reissner-Nordstrom black hole. And Kerr black hole is a black hole that possesses a magnetic field and spin.
Schwarzschild black holes are the simplest black holes, since they only have two main components, which are the singularity and an event horizon. Reissner-Nordstrom black hole has the singularity and two event horizons. The singularity for this type of black hole is a point in time rather than space. Kerr black hole has the singularity, two event horizons and an ergo sphere. The ergo sphere is in the “ellipsoidal region outside the outer event horizon. The ergo sphere represents the last stable orbit, and the outer boundary is called the static limit.” Interestingly the only physical part of black holes is their singularity, the rest such as the event horizon, are simply mathematical boundaries.

What happens during the process of a human being sucked into a black hole? Realistically speaking this will never happen. Since there is not a black hole close enough to the Earth for its gravity to pull Earth into its event horizon and swallow Earth. However, hypothetically speaking if one person some how did go close enough to a black hole the results will be interesting. If you are falling into a smaller black hole, your speed will accelerate as you approach the black hole. If you are flying feet first then your feet will be pulled in much faster than your head travels. As a result your body will be stretched then finally torn apart before you even reach the event horizon. On the other hand, if it is a supermassive black hole you are falling into, your body will remain whole. Your body will stay intact even after reaching the event horizon, but soon you will reach the singularity in the center of the black hole. It is there that your body will be compressed into a “single point of infinite density,” and becomes a part of the black hole. After entering the event horizon, no more contact can be made to people outside of the event horizon. This is why astronomers still have not gathered data from within black holes.

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