Black Holes, Outer Space

What Is A Black Hole?

In 1971, the first black hole was discovered. However, the term was coined in 1967 by John Wheeler, an American astronomer.
what is a black hole?

Black holes are one of the most fascinating phenomena in space. They have a significant gravitational attraction and are extremely dense. Nothing can escape their grasp if it gets close enough, not even light. You have surely heard about black holes, but learning more about the intricacies is a fun experience.

The Origin of the Black Hole

In 1971, the first black hole was discovered. However, the term was coined in 1967 by John Wheeler, an American astronomer. Now, the prediction for black holes goes all the way back to the days of Albert Einstein in 1916 and he discussed it along with his general theory of relativity.

Types of Black Holes

There are three types of black holes that are known about today. When a huge star collapses, a stellar black hole is formed. The second type is the super massive black hole and scientists are still working to understand exactly how this type is formed. The third type is the miniature black hole. It is theorized that this type would be considerably smaller than the sun, but one has yet to be discovered.

what is a black hole
The black hole visualized in Interstellar is believed to be one of the most accurate depiction of a black hole to date. (Warner Brothers)

How Do Scientists Locate Black Holes?

While the black hole itself cannot be visualized, scientists have ways to determine where one is located. They look at the stars and examine their motion. When a star and a black hole are orbiting close to each other, there is the production of high-energy light and this is something scientists can see using highly specialized instruments. They can also examine the gases around it.

You can see that black holes are so much more than just a perceived void in space. There are several types and they have their own set of characteristics that make them unique compared to everything else in the galaxies.

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Lauren studies astronomy and physics at NYU.