The Mysteries of the Black Hole
By Maira Siddiqui, grade 10
When we think of the name “black hole”, we might picture hollow or rather empty space. However, that’s not the case. The black hole is anything but that. Instead, it’s a large quantity of matter squeezed into an extremely small space. Its massive amount of gravity completely devours anything nearby. Nothing can escape the black hole – not even light. Ideas of the black hole have been developing since 1916, and even with all the information today’s scientists have gathered about it, to many, it remains a huge mystery.
The Theory of Relativity
It all started when the infamous scientist Albert Einstein formed the Theory of Relativity in 1905, which led to the prediction of black holes. It stated that the speed of light in a vacuum was independent of the motion of all observers. In it, he determined that massive objects cause a twist in spacetime, as gravity. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole. Basically, massive objects cause a bend in spacetime as gravity, forming the black hole.
How it works
Let’s start with the matter that is sucked in by black holes. Black holes mostly take in the core of stars. When a star dies, it explodes into a supernova which is an expulsion of its outer material. The dying star collapses until it becomes something consisting of zero volume and infinite density. This density pulls everything toward it including spacetime. Spacetime is a concept of mixing or fusing the one dimension of time and three dimensional space into a four dimensional continuum.
Different Black Holes
There are three types of black holes: Stellar, Supermassive, and Miniature black holes. Stellar black holes form when a massive star collapses. Supermassive black holes are – as the name says – HUGE. About the mass of one billion suns! They are most likely in the middle of most galaxies including the Milky Way. Scientists are not sure how supermassive black holes form, but it’s possible that they’re the product of galaxy formation. Because they are in the center of the galaxies, they can take in massive matter such as packed stars and gas clouds. Miniature black holes have not been discovered yet, but it’s likely that they formed after the big bang 13.7 billion years ago.
The Future of Black Holes
While many think black holes can be a threat in the future, scientists believe that black holes can actually help us in a way! Currently, scientists are researching ways that black holes could provide power supply to meet the electricity demands for the entire earth! Renowned physicist Stephen hawking stated that “a mountain-sized black hole would give off X-rays and gamma rays, at a rate of about 10 million megawatts, enough to power the world’s electricity supply”. Will these ideas work out? We can’t be sure, however, what we do know is there’s still a lot more researching to do until we find out.