Do We Need to Worry About Black Holes?

 

Volume 1, Issue 1

By: Kari

April 21, 2009


      When you hear the words “Black hole,” what do you think of? Are you frightened? Astonished? Awed? A black hole is a region of space whose gravitational force is so strong that nothing can escape from it. Anything that comes near the black hole is destroyed. First, the item gets pulled apart by the black hole. Then the black hole sucks in the pulled apart pieces with its gravity. It is so powerful that it can destroy the Sun and shatter the Earth. Black holes are like gravity gone mad. Although it is tiny, it weighs a lot and is vigorous. Black holes are invisible in the darkness because it can trap light, but when light shines on the black hole, it becomes visible to the universe. But what causes these monsters?
     Radiation and rays may cause black holes. A group of astronauts were sent into space to search for these events. They found a light, which was coming from an exploding supernova, larger than any explosion. It was the death of the star, and in collapsed inward and the central of the star squeezed in, instead of the star exploding outward into space. This was the birth of a black hole. They never die, and are usually found feeding. Black holes always leave a trail of destruction, and that is how scientists find them. The damage that this monster does can be seen across the universe. What a black hole cannot swallow is spat out into space. The jets of uneaten star or planet can be thin and insanely long. Black holes can bend light, but when light shines on it, the black hole is noticeable.
     The characteristics of black holes revolve around gravity. The gravitational force is strong near the black hole because all its matter is concentrated at a single point in the center. Physicists call that point a singularity. The surface of a black hole is known as the event horizon. At the event horizon, the pull of gravity becomes infinitely strong. An object can exist there only for a moment as it goes inward at the speed of light.


      Tim Axelrod tries to see the invisible and looks for something he calls gravitational micro-lensing. Gravitational mircro-lensing is when a star’s light is distorted by the black hole. Axelrod did not give up and looked every night in the same portion of the night sky for eight years. One night, he hit the jackpot. As he looked at it, the star’s light grew larger and brighter, and then shank and faded. This displayed the black hole. Axelrod started to look inside our galaxy, The Milky Way, and found something very disturbing. He found a super massive black hole in the center of our galaxy! Other astronomers have found this too. This black hole is one billion times stronger than the usual black hole, but is that something to worry about? Scientists say there is at least one black hole in the middle of every galaxy with the fast movement of stars around it and that we don’t have to worry until years down the road. Other scientist claim that the only known object that could be that massive and fit inside stars’ orbit is a black hole, and that could start to become a problem.

            If the Earth would be swallowed by a black hole, we would know. Our first signs would be meteors, and massive earthquakes. The black hole would start moving towards Jupiter, and swallow it over time. The next target would be the Sun, and the black hole would move near that. It would begin to tear apart the Sun, and drag it along as it moves toward Earth. By then, the Earth would become intensely hot, and civilization and life would have already ceased. The Earth would start to melt, and then get swallowed. The black hole would remain along with the rest of the planets, stars, and other things in the galaxy.

Black Hole Capturing a Star

As pictured, the star is starting to be torn apart and swallowed by the black hole.


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