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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 May 21, 2010

Radio Programs

Pulsars III Timing ripples in space and time November 29, 2017

Making Gold Making gold in the oddest of places November 6, 2017

V404 Cygni A binge-eating black hole September 1, 2017

Disappearing Star A potential firecracker fizzles out August 23, 2017

Black-Hole Blobs A black hole fires some rockets August 12, 2017

Black Hole Reality The reality about black holes July 26, 2017

Busy Merger A possible medium-size black hole May 10, 2017

Doomed Star A star faces a fate worse than death May 9, 2017

Jets Jetting off into the cosmos May 4, 2017

Middleweight Black Hole Evidence of a middleweight black hole April 27, 2017

Black-Hole Feast A black hole feasts on a big star April 26, 2017

Event Horizon Telescope Looking for a giant black hole April 4, 2017

Event Horizon Crossing an “eventful” horizon April 3, 2017

Quasars Looking deep into the universe March 15, 2017

Active Galaxies “Activating” the heart of a galaxy March 14, 2017

Super Supernovae II Explaining a brilliant explosion January 17, 2017

Slow Eater A black hole that’s a slow eater December 15, 2016

NGC 1600 A plain galaxy with a dark heart December 14, 2016

Brightest Galaxy The distant glow of a brilliant galaxy October 1, 2016

Dark Alternatives New light on dark matter August 29, 2016

Scorpius X-1 Diagnosing a dead star July 22, 2016

Black Hole Ripples Explaining ripples in the universe June 30, 2016

Stellar Disruption The outcry of a dying star June 29, 2016

Biggest of the Big The biggest of the big June 28, 2016

Black Hole Outline Outlining a supermassive black hole June 27, 2016

Gamma-Ray Bursts III The brilliant birth of a black hole April 20, 2016

Gamma-Ray Bursts II A final gasp from dead stars April 19, 2016

Evaporating Galaxy A galaxy that’s ripping itself apart March 23, 2016

Black Hole Snowplow Snowplowing lanes around a black hole March 4, 2016

Interferometry V Looking at giant black holes February 12, 2016

Switching On Switching on the heart of a galaxy December 18, 2015

Odd Relationship Black holes shut down starbirth December 17, 2015

Merging Quasars Pairs of black holes get closer December 16, 2015

Waking Up A black hole wakes up hungry September 14, 2015

Galactic Hub Visiting downtown Milky Way August 12, 2015

Early Beacon A bright beacon in the early universe May 28, 2015

Quasars An astronomical contradiction May 27, 2015

M87 Cluster A cosmic bullet from a black hole April 24, 2015

Close Escape A black hole snacks on a star January 12, 2015

Survivor The heart of the galaxy stays quiet January 11, 2015

Brightest The brightest outbursts in the universe November 5, 2014

Black Hole Reality The reality about black holes October 9, 2014

Event Horizon An astronomical point of no return October 8, 2014

Three-Headed Monster A trio of giant black holes October 7, 2014

Paper Black Holes Laying the groundwork for black holes August 31, 2014

Powerful Jets Powerful jets from massive black holes August 11, 2014

Dark Center Darkness in the heart of the galaxy July 28, 2014

Eta Carinae III The spectacular death of a giant star June 17, 2014

Too Close Getting too close to a dark monster May 17, 2014

M101 ULX-1 Weirdness in a nearby galaxy January 15, 2014

Black Hole Collisions Tiny threats rip through Earth January 14, 2014

Golden Mergers Mining gold from a black hole December 22, 2013

NGC 660 The glow of escaping table scraps December 16, 2013

Andromeda Galaxy II Black holes in a neighboring galaxy November 7, 2013

NGC 7052 Livening up a dull galaxy September 24, 2013

Black Hole Beacon A black hole announces its presence July 24, 2013

Galactic Bubbles Keeping food from a black hole July 23, 2013

Good Neighborhood A good neighborhood for young stars? July 22, 2013

On Station II Brilliant targets for the space station June 24, 2013

Close Companions A black hole devours a companion May 19, 2013

Getting Away Escaping from a black hole in a hurry May 9, 2013

Small Black Holes II Black holes that fizzle in a hurry February 25, 2013

Small Black Holes Looking for tiny black holes February 24, 2013

Quasars IV An astronomical navigation system February 7, 2013

Quasars III The glory days for a black hole February 6, 2013

Quasars II Lighting up a distant galaxy February 5, 2013

Nowhere to Hide Hiding in plain sight January 30, 2013

Bright Black Hole Brightness from the ultimate darkness January 29, 2013

M31’s Central Cluster Bright stars around a galaxy’s dark heart January 28, 2013

Tiny Black Hole A record-setting black hole October 25, 2012

Star Destroyer A star loses a life-and-death struggle October 24, 2012

Gravitational Kick A black hole gets a big kick October 23, 2012

Dark Portrait Snapping a picture of the unseeable October 8, 2012

BL Lacertae A star that’s more than a star September 13, 2012

Cygnus X-1 A giant star vanishes from view July 31, 2012

Zippy Planets Getting a big kick from a black hole June 27, 2012

Double Heart Twin black holes in a nearby galaxy May 29, 2012

Hungry Black Hole A black hole that’s snacking on a star May 28, 2012

Black Hole Power Getting power from a black hole April 19, 2012

Snack Time Snack time for a giant black hole March 28, 2012

Black Hole Bullets Bullets of hot gas from a black hole March 27, 2012

NuSTAR Dead stars tell some important tales March 13, 2012

Record Breaker An unprecedented sphere of darkness February 5, 2012

Gravitational Waves V The “wavy” birth of a black hole January 26, 2012

Featured Images

HST view of 47 Tucanae

Star Globe May 9, 2017

A swirl of stars at the center of the Milky Way contains a supermassive black hole

Looking for Darkness April 4, 2017

Artist's concept of 47 Tucanae X9, a likely black hole-white dwarf binary

Living Dangerously March 16, 2017

X-Ray image of VLA J2130+12

Slow Eater December 15, 2016

Swirling Galaxy December 3, 2016

Cosmic ray shower

Cosmic Showers November 28, 2016

Computer simulation of merging black holes

Dark Ripples June 30, 2016

Elliptical galaxy NGC 1600

Biggest of the Big June 28, 2016

Artist's concept of the galaxy WISE 2246

Evaporating Galaxy March 22, 2016

Strong winds blowing from a black hole in a distant spiral galaxy

Windy Black Hole January 15, 2016

The odd galaxy NGC 660

Busy Galaxy December 18, 2015

Hubble view of galaxy Markarian 231

Double Double November 22, 2015

X-ray energy forms expanding rings around the black hole V404 Cygni

Big Gulp Aftermath September 15, 2015

G2 survives its swing around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way

Narrow Escape March 27, 2015

Jetting Across the Universe August 12, 2014

Artist's concept of hot gas funneling toward black hole at center of Milky Way

Dark Center July 29, 2014

Combined visible, X-ray image of M51, the whirlpool galaxy

Colorful Whirlpool June 4, 2014

Artist's concept of black hole binary star system in the galaxy M101

Brilliant Darkness January 16, 2014

A black hole is created in the Large Hadron Collider, then quickly evaporates

Making a Black Hole February 26, 2013

Artist's concept of a distant quasar

Fiery Galaxy February 5, 2013

Combined optical and X-ray view of two possible black holes in the galaxy IC 342

On the Job January 8, 2013

Artist's concept of Cygnus X-1, with X-ray image shown in inset

Powerhouse August 1, 2012

The remnants of two merged galaxies

Fast Exit June 18, 2012

Hubble Space Telescope view of galaxy ESO 243-49

Little Giant May 29, 2012

Simulation of a supermassive black hole disrupting a star

Messy Meal May 4, 2012

Artist's concept of stars and a gas cloud near the Milky Way's central black hol

Snack Time March 29, 2012

New Heavyweight Champion February 6, 2012

Stars and gas swirl around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way

Swirling Center September 27, 2011

A thick torus of dust encircles a quasar

Water Works September 13, 2011

NGC 3758, a system of two merging galaxies

Double Trouble June 11, 2011

X-ray and radio image of galaxy M87

Close to the Monster March 10, 2011

Irregular galaxy Henize 2-10, which appears to contain a supermassive black hole

Small But Powerful March 8, 2011

Hubble view of Hanny's Voorwerp and the galaxy IC 2497

In the Spotlight January 11, 2011

M87 black hole

Busy Black Hole August 11, 2010