Unraveling mystery of the fearsome black hole: What it is and how many there are in our galaxy

    The black hole is created from "catastrophic death" of stars. It consumes everything in its path, including light.
    By: HIMANI JHA
    | Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 14:58 IST
    A black holes can swallow everything in its path, including light and nothing can escape from its depths. 
    A black holes can swallow everything in its path, including light and nothing can escape from its depths.  (AP)
    A black holes can swallow everything in its path, including light and nothing can escape from its depths. 
    A black holes can swallow everything in its path, including light and nothing can escape from its depths.  (AP)

    A black hole is one of the biggest mysteries in our universe that scientists have been exploring for years. And the most dangerous thing about it is that it can swallow everything that comes in its way including light as well. So, do black holes really deserve their fearsome reputation? Are black holes a fact or a fiction? What's the truth behind it? What is the black hole, actually? Do they really consume everything that comes in their way? Read on to find out.

    What is a black hole?

    Regina Caputo, a research astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center defined a black hole as "a region of space where gravity is so strong that even light can't escape." NASA explained that the gravity is so strong because of the matter being squeezed into a tiny space when a dying star explodes.

    The black holes are invisible as no light can get out of them. Space telescopes with special tools can help view black holes as well as how stars close to black holes act differently than other stars.

    Caputo, talking about gravity, shared that it is the result of a huge amount of mass in a small area that swallows everything in its path, from dust and gas to stars and even other black holes. For smaller black holes, the mass is generated due to catastrophic death of a star. Catastrophic death of a star is when a star burns up all its fuel and collapses in on itself. However, things are different in case of supermassive black holes. They are equivalent to the mass of billions of stars, and scientists are still trying to find answers to these questions.

    Could a black hole swallow earth?

    This is one of the biggest questions in the mind of many people. But to our relief, Earth cannot fall into a black hole because there's none close enough to our solar system. Having said that, we are part of the Milky Way Galaxy and there are many black holes present in it. NASA estimates that there are as many as 100 million black holes that roam among the stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. Well, that should keep you awake at nights!

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    First Published Date: 28 Jul, 22:21 IST
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