NPR

Black Holes: Where Reality Beats Fiction

We know that at the heart of pretty much every galaxy, there is a giant black hole. There is a lot that we know about black holes — and a lot that we don't know, says astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser.
Astronomers using ESO's MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the sun. This is an artist's rendition. Source: L. Calçada

Last week, NOVA presented an episode on black holes, these most mysterious and mind-boggling physical objects.

Hosted by astrophysicist Janna Levin, from Barnard College in New York, the episode was truly fantastic. Very clear science and stunning graphics. Levin was gracious and fun, the kind of benevolent teacher you want for your kids. The text was tight, with the narration closely following the quotes from the many invited guests. And the science, of course, was nothing short of amazing. As Levin said, black holes are places where reality beats fiction. Hands down.

Go into an elementary school classroom and mention black holes. Eyes will light up, a mix of awe and fear. To a child, the image of a hole in space that swallows everything that comes near is pretty awesome. "A place to send off your worse

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