Black Hole

An object with such powerful gravity that nothing can escape from it, including light. The black hole's mass is concentrated in a point of almost infinite density called a singularity. At the singularity itself, gravity is almost infinitely strong, so it crushes normal space-time out of existence. As the distance from the singularity increases, its gravitational influence lessens. At a certain distance, which depends on the singularity's mass, the speed needed to escape from the black hole equals the speed of light. This distance marks the black hole's "horizon," which is like its surface. Anything that passes through the horizon is trapped inside the black hole. Black holes come in several varieties, depending on mass.

Resources

Black Holes A black hole is invisible, but astronomers can...

Radio Programs

Brightest The brightest outbursts in the universe Thursday, November 6, 2014
Black Hole Reality The reality about black holes Friday, October 10, 2014
Event Horizon An astronomical point of no return Thursday, October 9, 2014
Three-Headed Monster A trio of giant black holes Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Paper Black Holes Laying the groundwork for black holes Monday, September 1, 2014
Powerful Jets Powerful jets from massive black holes Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Dark Center Darkness in the heart of the galaxy Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Eta Carinae III The spectacular death of a giant star Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Too Close Getting too close to a dark monster Sunday, May 18, 2014
M101 ULX-1 Weirdness in a nearby galaxy Thursday, January 16, 2014
Black Hole Collisions Tiny threats rip through Earth Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Golden Mergers Mining gold from a black hole Monday, December 23, 2013
NGC 660 The glow of escaping table scraps Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Andromeda Galaxy II Black holes in a neighboring galaxy Friday, November 8, 2013
NGC 7052 Livening up a dull galaxy Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Black Hole Beacon A black hole announces its presence Thursday, July 25, 2013
Galactic Bubbles Keeping food from a black hole Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Good Neighborhood A good neighborhood for young stars? Tuesday, July 23, 2013
On Station II Brilliant targets for the space station Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Close Companions A black hole devours a companion Monday, May 20, 2013
Getting Away Escaping from a black hole in a hurry Friday, May 10, 2013
Small Black Holes II Black holes that fizzle in a hurry Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Small Black Holes Looking for tiny black holes Monday, February 25, 2013
Quasars IV An astronomical navigation system Friday, February 8, 2013
Quasars III The glory days for a black hole Thursday, February 7, 2013
Quasars II Lighting up a distant galaxy Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Nowhere to Hide Hiding in plain sight Thursday, January 31, 2013
Bright Black Hole Brightness from the ultimate darkness Wednesday, January 30, 2013
M31’s Central Cluster Bright stars around a galaxy’s dark heart Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Tiny Black Hole A record-setting black hole Friday, October 26, 2012
Star Destroyer A star loses a life-and-death struggle Thursday, October 25, 2012
Gravitational Kick A black hole gets a big kick Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Dark Portrait Snapping a picture of the unseeable Tuesday, October 9, 2012
BL Lacertae A star that’s more than a star Friday, September 14, 2012
Cygnus X-1 A giant star vanishes from view Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Zippy Planets Getting a big kick from a black hole Thursday, June 28, 2012
Double Heart Twin black holes in a nearby galaxy Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Hungry Black Hole A black hole that’s snacking on a star Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Black Hole Power Getting power from a black hole Friday, April 20, 2012
Snack Time Snack time for a giant black hole Thursday, March 29, 2012
Black Hole Bullets Bullets of hot gas from a black hole Wednesday, March 28, 2012
NuSTAR Dead stars tell some important tales Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Record Breaker An unprecedented sphere of darkness Monday, February 6, 2012
Gravitational Waves V The “wavy” birth of a black hole Friday, January 27, 2012
M15 Debating a medium-sized black hole Saturday, October 22, 2011
Milky Way’s Heart V Youngsters at the heart of the Milky Way Friday, September 30, 2011
Milky Way’s Heart IV The flashy heart of the Milky Way Thursday, September 29, 2011
Milky Way’s Heart III Confirming the dark heart of the Milky Way Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Milky Way’s Heart II A sky-spanning marquee of stars Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Too Close Getting too close to a black hole Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Stellar Chemistry Forging the chemistry of life Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Future Skies The universe in the year one trillion Tuesday, August 30, 2011
V404 Cygni A dark star system that puts on a show Sunday, August 14, 2011
John A. Wheeler A new name for invisible stars Saturday, July 9, 2011
Brightest X-Ray Burst The brilliant death of a distant star Monday, June 20, 2011
M87 Black Hole Looking for a hidden giant Thursday, March 10, 2011
Young Black Hole Watching an infant black hole Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Galaxies and Black Holes Insight into a chicken-and-egg problem Tuesday, March 8, 2011
3C48 A quasi-stellar mystery Sunday, September 26, 2010
Off-Center Black Hole A black hole that's out of position Saturday, August 14, 2010
Black Hole Flare-Up A black hole gets brighter Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Closest Black Hole? A record-setting stellar neighbor Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Messy Demise Lively goings-on from dead stars Monday, March 22, 2010
Gamma-Ray Sky Violence from the stars Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Primordial Black Holes III Listening for a tiny black hole Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Primordial Black Holes II The hunt for tiny black holes Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Primordial Black Holes Filling the universe with black holes Monday, June 22, 2009
More M87 Illuminating a galaxy's darkness Thursday, May 14, 2009
M87 A galaxy piles up the zeroes Wednesday, May 13, 2009
BESS Looking for tiny black holes Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Building Galaxies Black holes and galactic bulges Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Quasars Lighting up the darkness Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Tough Neighborhood Growing up in a tough neighborhood Monday, April 27, 2009
Hanny's Voorwerp The echo of a dead quasar Thursday, March 12, 2009
Gamma-Ray Bursts II A startling birth announcement Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Featured Images

Jetting Across the Universe Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Artist's concept of hot gas funneling toward black hole at center of Milky Way
Dark Center Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Combined visible, X-ray image of M51, the whirlpool galaxy
Colorful Whirlpool Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Artist's concept of black hole binary star system in the galaxy M101
Brilliant Darkness Thursday, January 16, 2014
The powerful quasar SDSS J1106
Phenomenal Cosmic Power Friday, May 10, 2013
A black hole is created in the Large Hadron Collider, then quickly evaporates
Making a Black Hole Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Artist's concept of a distant quasar
Fiery Galaxy Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Combined optical and X-ray view of two possible black holes in the galaxy IC 342
On the Job Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Artist's concept of Cygnus X-1, with X-ray image shown in inset
Powerhouse Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The remnants of two merged galaxies
Fast Exit Monday, June 18, 2012
Hubble Space Telescope view of galaxy ESO 243-49
Little Giant Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Simulation of a supermassive black hole disrupting a star
Messy Meal Friday, May 4, 2012
Artist's concept of stars and a gas cloud near the Milky Way's central black hol
Snack Time Thursday, March 29, 2012
New Heavyweight Champion Monday, February 6, 2012
Stars and gas swirl around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way
Swirling Center Tuesday, September 27, 2011
A thick torus of dust encircles a quasar
Water Works Tuesday, September 13, 2011
NGC 3758, a system of two merging galaxies
Double Trouble Saturday, June 11, 2011
X-ray and radio image of galaxy M87
Close to the Monster Thursday, March 10, 2011
Irregular galaxy Henize 2-10, which appears to contain a supermassive black hole
Small But Powerful Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Hubble view of Hanny's Voorwerp and the galaxy IC 2497
In the Spotlight Tuesday, January 11, 2011
M87 black hole
Busy Black Hole Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Hotter Galaxy Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Galactic Fireworks Saturday, July 4, 2009
Unexpected Nursery Monday, April 27, 2009
Galactic Turmoil Monday, March 23, 2009
Hanny's Voorwerp Thursday, March 12, 2009
Heart of the Milky Way Saturday, December 13, 2008
Jetting Away Thursday, November 20, 2008
Stellar Odd Couple Thursday, November 6, 2008
Smallest Black Hole? Monday, June 23, 2008
Snack Time Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Into the Darkness Monday, February 4, 2008
Under Attack Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Big Appetite Thursday, October 18, 2007
Snack Time Sunday, December 17, 2006
Jetting Away from a Black Hole Thursday, November 9, 2006
Efficient Black Hole Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Hiding a Black Hole Wednesday, March 22, 2006

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