Black-Hole Sun

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Black-Hole Sun

Stars like the Sun aren’t massive enough to become black holes when they die. But there’s a possible exception to that rule: if the star is born with a small black hole inside it. The idea was first proposed by Stephen Hawking. And it’s supported by a recent study.

Normally, a star like the Sun just isn’t massive enough to collapse to make a black hole.

But the universe might be sprinkled with black holes created in the Big Bang. Such black holes could be just about any mass — from almost nothing, to as heavy as a star.

Such a black hole could be incorporated into a newly forming star. There, it would slowly “eat” the star from the inside. Over time, that process could account for some of the star’s energy production. But the black hole might reach a tipping point where it would gobble the rest of the star — converting the whole thing into a black hole.

Measuring the vibrations at the surfaces of Sun-like stars might reveal the presence of black holes inside them — eating them from the inside.

The new study says that a black hole up to about one millionth of the Sun’s mass could be at work inside the Sun today. If it’s there, within a hundred million years it could cause the Sun to drop to about half of its current brightness. The Sun then would puff up to many times its current size, and shine brighter for billions of years. After that, it would collapse to form a black hole.

More about black holes tomorrow.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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