You are here

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.


Black Holes May 21, 2010

Radio Programs

Closest Black Hole Digging up the closest black hole August 21, 2020

Sagittarius Cluster Extra black holes in a star cluster August 17, 2020

Galactic UFO A “UFO” from a giant black hole July 8, 2020

The Final Parsec Bridging the final parsec June 17, 2020

Black-Hole Weirdness Some black-hole weirdness June 16, 2020

Windy Black Holes Star-killing winds from black holes June 15, 2020

Giant Black Hole A dark heart for a giant galaxy February 10, 2020

Monoceros Outlining the celestial unicorn January 25, 2020

Black-Hole Generators Putting a black hole to work January 16, 2020

Death of a Star Watching the death of a star January 15, 2020

Accretion Disks Brightening up a black hole January 14, 2020

Heavy Merger “Jiggles” from a heavyweight merger November 27, 2019

Double Black Holes Not seeing double stars September 27, 2019

Black Holes Galore Black holes in the Milky Way September 26, 2019

BL Lacertae A black hole that’s ablaze September 16, 2019

V404 Cygni Studying a busy black hole August 28, 2019

Dark Mergers Fireworks from a “dark” merger August 22, 2019

Dark Companion Black holes in the heart of the galaxy July 31, 2019

Quiet Monster A quiet monster flares up July 30, 2019

Cygnus X-1 A giant star vanishes from view July 11, 2019

More Transients Explaining some bright flashes April 28, 2019

LIGO Whipping up space and time February 19, 2019

Monoceros The closest black hole February 11, 2019

Timing a Black Hole Delicate timing for a dead star October 26, 2018

Black-Hole Middleweight A middleweight black hole October 25, 2018

Stellar Disruption Pulling apart wayward stars October 24, 2018

Unlucky Stars Getting too close to black holes September 24, 2018

Making a Black Hole Making a little black hole September 14, 2018

Black Hole Bonanza Black holes by the hundreds August 31, 2018

New Telescope A new eye on the radio sky August 8, 2018

Building Big Black Holes Building bigger black holes June 26, 2018

Death-Ray Galaxy A death ray from a monster black hole June 10, 2018

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

Featured Images

Messier 22

Lightness and Darkness August 17, 2020

Two black holes prepare to merge

Getting Together July 2, 2020

Star Factory June 15, 2020

Paths of stars that pass close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy

Jumbled Stars April 18, 2020

Multi-wavelength view of Messier 106

Arming a Galaxy April 5, 2020

Abell 85

Heavyweights February 10, 2020

Accretion disk around a black hole

Circling Darkness January 14, 2020

Black hole begins to swallow a neutron star

Heavyweight Merger November 27, 2019

Simulation of two merging black holes

Double Darkness September 27, 2019

Time machines

Time to Ponder September 20, 2019

X-ray image of light echoes from V404 Cygni

Echoes of a Black Hole August 28, 2019

Artist's concept of Cygnus X-1

Bad Neighbor July 11, 2019

image of the black hole in the galaxy m87

First Look April 10, 2019

Hot Teacup March 17, 2019

X-ray views of the magnetar near the center of the galaxy

Galactic magnet March 6, 2019

Rippling Through Space February 19, 2019

Hubble Space Telescope view of NGC 6624

Home to a Black Hole? October 26, 2018

Artist's concept of two neutron stars merging to make a black hole

Violent Merger September 14, 2018

Black holes around a ring galaxy

Ring Around the Galaxy September 8, 2018

multi-wavelength view of 3c 321

Death-Ray Galaxy June 10, 2018

Quasar 3c 298

'Pushy' Black Hole February 26, 2018

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