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10 Black holes in the universe

Because light cannot escape from a black hole’s event horizon (the point of no return), black holes are…
10 Black Holes Of The Universe

Because light cannot escape from a black hole’s event horizon (the point of no return), black holes are difficult to see in images since they appear black. However, astronomers can study the surroundings of black holes, which can emit various types of radiation that telescopes on Earth and in space can detect.

In 2019, scientists used the Event Horizon Telescope to capture the first-ever image of a black hole. This groundbreaking image shows the supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of the galaxy M87. The Event Horizon Telescope is a network of eight radio telescopes worldwide working together to create this historic image.

This NASA animation demonstrates how a black hole bends the space around it, much like a funhouse mirror, due to its incredibly strong gravitational force.

Blasting jets at (almost) the speed of light

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

Observations from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory reveal that the jets shooting out from a well-known black hole are zooming along at nearly the speed of light, about 99%. Scientists observed these swift jets coming from a black hole in the galaxy Messier 87, the same black hole that the Event Horizon Telescope famously imaged directly for the first time.

In a wide-field image of Messier 87 captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a white box highlights where the black hole’s jet is located.

Black holes boost star birth millions of miles away.

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

With information gathered from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, scientists have found a black hole triggering the formation of stars in many galaxies, even across vast distances. Chandra detected strong X-rays (shown in red) coming from hot gas swirling around a black hole at the center of a galaxy that’s a staggering 9.9 billion light-years away from Earth.

1. Cygnus X-1

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

The bent light from near the black hole Cygnus X-1 offers new insights into the twisted space and incredibly strong magnetic fields nearby. Cygnus X-1, the first black hole ever found, is approximately 10 times heavier than the sun, with a width of 18 miles (60 kilometers). It’s located 8,000 light-years away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation. This black hole pulls gas from a blue supergiant star orbiting closely, causing the gas to heat up intensely as it spirals inward. This process emits high-energy X-rays and gamma rays.

2. MWC 656

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

This image shows an artist’s idea of the MWC 656 system, made up of a large “Be” star and a black hole companion. The star spins rapidly, releasing a disk of material around its equator, which then moves to the black hole through a swirling disk called an accretion disk.

3. Blowing bubbles

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

A massive, unseen bubble envelops the black hole Cygnus X-1. This cavity is formed in space due to the black hole’s actions and was spotted using a radio telescope. The cross on the radio image shows where the black hole Cygnus X-1 is located. On the left (east) side of the black hole is a bright area, a dense cloud of gas found in the space between stars, known as the interstellar medium.

4. Sagittarius A*

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

According to theoretical calculations, this is how the central black hole of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*, will appear when photographed by the Event Horizon Telescope. The image uses false colors to illustrate light emitted by gas swirling around and falling into the black hole. The dark area in the center is called the “black hole shadow,” created when the black hole bends light around it.

5. Black hole swallows a star

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

These pictures, captured by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, reveal a brightening within a galaxy triggered by a burst from its core. The arrow in each picture indicates the galaxy. This burst is a telltale sign of the galaxy’s central black hole tearing apart a star that ventured too close.

6. Black hole simulation

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

A supercomputer simulation revealing how matter falling into black holes produces light has enhanced our understanding of how black holes operate. Researchers examined a simulation of a black hole roughly the size of a star. They observed how it emits two types of X-rays from the material, spiraling into these incredibly dense objects. This labeled image highlights various simulation aspects, including the black hole’s event horizon.

7. Stuck in the middle with a black hole

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

This picture displays one of the nine major galaxies studied by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory concerning the rotation of black holes. This particular galaxy, NGC 5846, harbors a supermassive black hole at its core.

8. Evidence

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

In the image, a glowing blob of hydrogen gas is seen in yellow on the left side. On the right side, blue light indicates the growth of a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center.

9. Eat to the beat

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

This artist’s drawing depicts how space-time is distorted by a supermassive black hole located at the heart of a galaxy. The black hole consumes dark matter at a rate influenced by its mass and the quantity of dark matter surrounding it.

10. Smash it up

10 Black Holes Of The Universe

A large black hole, concealed within the center of the nearby Centaurus A, consumes a smaller galaxy in a remarkable collision.


black holes are some of the universe’s most fascinating and mysterious objects. From the massive supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies to the stellar black holes formed from collapsed stars, these enigmatic entities have captured the imagination of scientists and the public alike.

Through the use of advanced telescopes and observational techniques, astronomers have made significant strides in understanding the properties and behavior of black holes. From studying the gravitational effects on nearby objects to observing the powerful jets and emissions generated by their intense gravitational pull, scientists continue to unlock the secrets of these cosmic phenomena.

While much progress has been made, there is still much to learn about black holes and their role in shaping the universe. Further research and exploration will undoubtedly yield new insights and discoveries, shedding light on the fundamental nature of space, time, and gravity.

As we continue to delve deeper into the mysteries of the universe, black holes remain a captivating subject of study. They offer tantalizing clues about the nature of the cosmos and our place within it.


Q1: What is a black hole?

Ans: A black hole is a region in space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull. It forms when a massive star collapses under its gravity at the end of its life cycle.

Q2: How are black holes formed?

Ans: Black holes are formed from the remnants of massive stars that undergo gravitational collapse after exhausting their nuclear fuel. This collapse can occur in different ways depending on the star’s mass.

Q3: What happens if you fall into a black hole?

Ans: According to current understanding, if you were to fall into a black hole, you would be stretched and squeezed due to the extreme gravitational forces. This process is known as “spaghettification.” Eventually, you would reach the singularity at the center of the black hole, where the laws of physics as we know them break down.

Q4: Can black holes die?

Ans: Black holes can theoretically evaporate over time through a process called Hawking radiation, proposed by physicist Stephen Hawking. However, this process is extremely slow, especially for large black holes, and none have been observed to evaporate yet.

Q5: Do black holes move?

Ans: Black holes can move through space like any other object with mass. Gravitational interactions with other objects, such as stars or black holes, influence their movement.

Q6: Can we see black holes?

Ans: Directly observing black holes is challenging because they do not emit light. However, we can indirectly observe them by detecting their effects on nearby objects, such as stars orbiting around them or the distortion of light passing close to them.

Q7: What is the event horizon of a black hole?

Ans: The event horizon is the boundary surrounding a black hole beyond which nothing can escape its gravitational pull, not even light. Once an object crosses the event horizon, it is inevitably drawn into the black hole.

Q8: Are there different types of black holes?

Ans: Black holes are classified into different types based on their mass. The three main types are stellar-mass black holes, intermediate-mass black holes, and supermassive black holes, with masses ranging from a few times that of the sun to millions or even billions of times the sun’s mass.

Q9: What is a black hole’s singularity?

Ans: The singularity is the point at the center of a black hole where matter is infinitely dense, and the gravitational forces are infinitely strong. It is a mathematical concept representing a breakdown in our understanding of physics.

Q10: Are there black holes in our galaxy?

Ans: Yes, there are believed to be millions of black holes in our galaxy, the Milky Way. These range from stellar-mass black holes formed from the remnants of massive stars to supermassive black holes found at the centers of most galaxies, including ours.

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