Everyday we look out upon the night sky, wondering and dreaming of
what lies beyond our planet. The universe that we live in is so diverse
and unique, and it interests us to learn about all the variance that
lies beyond our grasp. Within this marvel of wonders our universe holds
a mystery that is very difficult to understand because of the complications
that arise when trying to examine and explore the principles of space.
That mystery happens to be that of the ever clandestine, black hole.
This essay will hopefully give you the knowledge and understanding
of the concepts, properties, and processes involved with the space
phenomenon of the black hole. It will describe how a black hole is
generally formed, how it functions, and the effects it has on the universe.
In order to understand what exactly a black hole is, we must first
take a look at the basis for the cause of a black hole. All black holes
are formed from the gravitational collapse of a star, usually having a
great, massive, core. A star is created when huge, gigantic, gas clouds
bind together due to attractive forces and form a hot core, combined from
all the energy of the two gas clouds. This energy produced is so great
when it first collides, that a nuclear reaction occurs and the gases within
the star start to burn continuously. The Hydrogen gas is usually the first
type of gas consumed in a star and then other gas elements such as Carbon,
Oxygen, and Helium are consumed.
This chain reaction fuels the star for millions or billions of
years depending upon the amount of gases there are.
The star manages to avoid collapsing at this point because of the
equilibrium achieved by itself. The gravitational pull from the core of
the star is equal to the gravitational pull of the gases forming a type of
orbit, however when this equality is broken the star can go into several
Usually if the star is small in mass, most of the gases will be
consumed while some of it escapes. This occurs because there is not a
tremendous gravitational pull upon those gases and therefore the star
weakens and becomes smaller. It is then referred to as a White Dwarf.
If the star was to have a larger mass however, then it may possibly
Supernova, meaning that the nuclear fusion within the star simply goes
out of control causing the star to explode. After exploding a fraction
of the star is usually left (if it has not turned into pure gas) and that
fraction of the star is known as a neutron star.
A black hole is one of the last option that a star may take. If
the core of the star is so massive (approximately 6-8 solar masses;
one solar mass being equal to the sun’s mass) then it is most likely that
when the star’s gases are almost consumed those gases will collapse inward,
forced into the core by the gravitational force laid upon them.
After a black hole is created, the gravitational force continues
to pull in space debris and other type of matters to help add to the
mass of the core, making the hole stronger and more powerful.
Most black holes tend to be in a consistent spinning motion.
This motion absorbs various matter and spins it within the ring (known as
the Event Horizon) that is formed around the black hole. The matter keeps
within the Event Horizon until it has spun into the centre where it is
concentrated within the core adding to the mass. Such spinning black holes
are known as Kerr Black Holes.
Most black holes orbit around stars due to the fact that they once
were a star, and this may cause some problems for the neighbouring stars.
If a black hole gets powerful enough it may actually pull a star into it
and disrupt the orbit of many other stars. The black hole could then
grow even stronger (from the star’s mass) as to possibly absorb another.
When a black hole absorbs a star, the star is first pulled into the
Ergosphere, which sweeps all the matter into the Event Horizon, named for
it’s flat horizontal appearance and because this happens to be the place
where mostly all the action within the black hole occurs. When the star is
passed on into the Event Horizon the light that the star endures is bent
within the current and therefore cannot be seen in space. At this exact
point in time, high amounts of radiation are given off, that with the
proper equipment can be detected and seen as an image of a black hole.
Through this technique astronomers now believe that they have found a black
hole known as Cygnus X1. This supposed black hole has a huge star orbiting
around it, therefore we assume there must be a black hole that it is in
The first scientists to really take an in depth look at black holes
and the collapsing of stars, were a professor, Robert Oppenheimer and his
student Hartland Snyder, in the early nineteen hundreds. They concluded
on the basis of Einstein’s theory of relativity that if the speed of light
was the utmost speed over any massive object, then nothing could escape
a black hole once in it’s clutches. **(1)
The name “black hole” was named such, because of the fact that light
could not escape from the gravitational pull from the core, thus making the
black hole impossible for humans to see without using technological
advancements for measuring such things like radiation. The second part of
the word was named “hole” due to the fact that the actual hole, is where
everything is absorbed and where the centre core presides. This core is
the main part of the black hole where the mass is concentrated and appears
purely black on all readings even through the use of radiation
Just recently a major discovery was found with the help of a device
known as The Hubble Telescope. This telescope has just recently found
what many astronomers believe to be a black hole, after being focused on
an star orbiting empty space. Several picture were sent back
to Earth from the telescope showing many computer enhanced pictures of
various radiation fluctuations and other diverse types of readings that
could be read from the area in which the black hole is suspected to be in.
Several diagrams were made showing how astronomers believe that
if somehow you were to survive through the centre of the black hole that
were would be enough gravitational force to possible warp you to another
end in the universe or possibly to another universe. The creative ideas
that can be hypothesized from this discovery are endless.
Although our universe is filled with much unexplained, glorious,
phenomenons, it is our duty to continue exploring them and to continue
learning, but in the process we must not take any of it for granted.
As you have read, black holes are a major topic within our universe
and they contain so much curiosity that they could possibly hold
unlimited uses. Black holes are a sensation that astronomers are
still very puzzled with. It seems that as we get closer to solving
their existence and functions, we just end up with more and more questions.
Although these questions just lead us into more and more unanswered
problems we seek and find refuge into them, dreaming that maybe one day,
one far off distant day, we will understand all the conceptions and we
will be able to use the universe to our advantage and go where only
our dreams could take us.
Dave May 343
References For Into The Depths of a Black Hole
**(1): Parker, Barry. Colliding Galaxies. PG#96