Black holes — regions of space where gravity is so strong, not even light can escape — are the corpses of dead, massive stars.
They form when the star runs out of fuel and collapses in on itself so tightly that the basic units of matter are no longer separate particles.
And they’re terrifying.
Black holes are NOT terrifying in a “one could form in the center of the Earth and swallow us whole at any moment” kind of way.
And no, the Large Hadron Collider is also not going to create a black hole that swallows the Earth.
Rather, black holes are terrifying in an existential “we’ll never know the farthest limits of the universe” kind of way.
Here’s why black holes are so terrifying.
1. Falling into a black hole would suck — get it? — but for real, you’d be absolutely shredded to pieces if you fell into one, because of the strong gravity.
2. At the center of every galaxy, there’s a huge black hole. They range in mass from the mass of a few Suns to several billion Suns.
Sometimes these black holes eat stars from their own galaxy — but don’t worry, that’s not in the cards for our Solar System.
There’s a supermassive black hole 40 billion times the mass of our Sun and 20 times the size of our Solar System.
The outer edges of this huge black hole take 3 months to make a full journey around the center. That means the outer edge is turning at half the speed of light!
If you fell into one of these supermassive black holes, you wouldn’t get torn apart — which is great news.
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The bad news is that the gravity is so strong you’d never be able to escape.
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