Halloween reminds us of witches, zombies, vampires, spirits, or any scary beasts and entities. However, there is something much scarier in the universe than werewolves - it's black holes, the darkest and most mysterious bodies in the universe, which are scary both for what we know, and for the unknown.
We've talked here about a number of ideas regarding black holes, both as proposals and ideas already in practice. This shows just how fascinating and versatile these bodies are in exploring the universe. However, while they may help us unlock mysteries, you wouldn't want to run into one of them out there.
On this Halloween, here, therefore, is a brief tribute to these beloved little monsters.
Dying at the hands of a black hole
Recently, in an article published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , a group of astronomers reported the closest spaghettification observation to Earth, and we reported it in a text. The telescope captured several details of the star being stretched and torn apart by the force of the black hole.
A black hole is an object with a gigantic mass - but this is inconceivable to us. Therefore, it does not have to be so big to have a mass greater than any star in the universe - it can even be much smaller than the star, even with a mass infinitely greater.
Contrary to what many people think, a black hole doesn't swallow everything up all at once. In fact, an accretion disk appears around it - the star is disassembled and stretched into a spiral. That's exactly what would happen to you. Spaghettification occurs because with such a large gravity, a small attitude difference causes a huge variation in the gravitational force. In this way, the holeblack pulls his feet much harder than his head.
In addition to becoming a spaghetti, much of its matter would become energy. A quasar, an object that forms near a black hole, releases more energy even than a galaxy.
Center of a galaxy
We have also reported on a black hole that holds six galaxies in its mesh. However, this is quite unusual. It is more common for a black hole to hold only one galaxy. There is even a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (read Sagittarius A 'star').
Remember that famous first picture of a black hole? It's also a supermassive black hole with almost 7 billion solar masses that traps a galaxy. In this case, it's the galaxy M87, located 35.5 million light-years from Earth. What's more, this black hole has almost 1.6 thousand times more mass than Sagittarius A*.
(Event Horizon Telescope (EHT))
They spend most of their time hiding in the darkness. But when a large amount of matter appears, the feast is literally energetic. An active galactic nucleus, or even a quasar (an "evolution" of the active galactic nucleus) forms around it, releasing even more energy than the galaxy.
Super, super, supermassive black holes
7 billion solar masses seems like a lot, right? Because the largest black hole ever discovered, located in the Abell 85 galaxy cluster, has 40 billion times the mass of the Sun. Imagine that - it's the densest object in the universe occupying an area equivalent to 20 times the area of the entire solar system. A star that size wouldn't even come close to that mass - it's too monstrous.
Moreover, its rotation is extremely fast. Pluto makes one revolution around the Sun every 248 Earth years. The black hole, whose rotation path is dozens of times longer, takes only 3 Earth months to make one revolution around itself.