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The Life of a Black Hole

Black holes are some of the most exciting phenomena in astrophysics, but what exactly are they? How do they live and die? Let’s dive into the basics.

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So let’s start at square one and define exactly what a black hole is. A black hole is a region in space where the gravitational pull is so strong anything that enters cannot escape again. That includes the fastest thing in the universe, light, and since light can’t come back out once it crosses that point of no return known as the event horizon, observers like us on the outside can’t see black holes. They are completely invisible.

So you may be wondering how we know they’re there. We’ve even taken pictures of them, it was in the news and everything. The black hole itself may be invisible, but we can still find them because of the effect they have on nearby matter and on light passing close-but-not-too-close. We’ve spotted the radiation given off by superheated matter swirling around them, forming what’s called an accretion disk. It basically looks like space’s version of the Eye of Sauron. We can even see the back side of the accretion disk that would be hidden behind the black hole’s shadow if it weren’t for the wild way black holes can alter the path light takes.

According to Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, black holes warp space and time to the extreme because they pack an enormous amount of mass into an incredibly small space at the black hole’s center. Just how much mass the black hole has determines how far away the event horizon is from the center, a distance called the Schwarzschild radius, and the radius can grow if more matter falls into the black hole.

The Schwarszchild radius is important in another way: it’s also the minimum size an object will have to be squeezed down to for gravity to take over and turn it into a black hole.

#BlackHole #Space #Astronomy #Universe #Astrophysics #Seeker

Read More:
Does a black hole ever die?
https://www.popsci.com/black-hole-birth-growth-death/
“This link between the birth of a black hole and the death of the star that formed it is a fairly common occurrence across the Universe. Stars and black holes are closely intertwined, especially in areas of the universe where star formation is churning along at high speed.”

Atomic-sized primordial black holes: what new experimental evidence suggests
https://theconversation.com/atomic-sized-primordial-black-holes-what-new-experimental-evidence-suggests-167295
There are also other black holes called “primitive” or “primordial” black holes, which – as their name indicates – were created in the first moments of the Big Bang, when the universe first began, and can theoretically possess any mass. They may range in size from a subatomic particle to several hundred kilometres.

How do supermassive black holes grow so large?
https://astronomy.com/magazine/news/2021/03/how-to-grow-a-giant-black-hole
“According to the traditional picture of black hole formation and growth, the universe at this time simply had not existed long enough for black holes to bulk up to a billion solar masses. So, based on our general understanding of how black holes form and grow, these black holes should not exist.”

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