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Black Holes


Black Holes
Melannee Nguyen
Salt Lake Community College

Black Holes


Black holes are essentially gravity wells that have the appearance of vacuuming up
anything it comes in contact with, since that object is unable to escape its force of gravity. They
are gigantic masses of matter concentrated so heavily that even light can’t escape, which is why
it’s called a black hole. They’re considered to be an anomaly because they not only have an
effect on space, they also affect time. Black holes could basically be the child of science that’s
been in gymnastics their entire life; quite flexible.
A common type of black hole is produced by certain dying stars that contain a mass
greater than the sun times twenty. Dying stars seem to have a lot of potential to produce a black
hole at the end of its life cycle. (Hubblesite, Para. 1) At the end of a star's life cycle it should no
longer be capable of producing enough pressure to retain its massive size and without that
pressure, the star will just collapse on itself. This is usually applicable to average sized stars.
When comparing small to big stars that collapse into itself, there are a couple of things that are
different. But the major point is that small stars will collapse into white dwarfs that cool over
time and then become a black dwarf; with the large star, when it collapses into itself it becomes a
black hole. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the force of gravity being
exerted towards its surroundings. Just some food for thought, it’s similar concepts coming
together with the fact that star size does matter in the end.
Even though any object that would come into contact with a black hole is unable to
escape its force of gravity, it doesn’t actually do any “sucking” in. “Even though it’s a popular
belief that black holes suck up and absorb everything around it in an uncontrolled orgy of
destruction: it actually exerts no more gravitational pull on the objects around it than the original
star from which it was formed.” Luke Mastin. (Physics of the Universe) Meaning, that any object
from the original star that survived the process now orbits the black hole. Black holes still have

Black Holes


the same mass as the stars the were made from and the reason why nothing can escape is because
of its much smaller size. “Gravity is inversely proportional to distance from an object; which
means that moving twice as far away from an object will reduce the pull of gravity felt by it four
times.” Luke Mastin. If the sun were to collapse, it’s radius would only be a little less than three
kilometers, mind boggling indeed.
But why exactly are black holes relevant, what’s the point of observing black holes? Well,
they first start off as the remnants of a dead star that have the ability to expand over time.
(Mastin L.) There is always heavy emphasis when researching about black holes that if anything
gets too close to its gravitational well, that object is pulled in and will never be strong enough to
escape the gravitational forces. After absorbing enough mass, black holes have the ability to
grow to incomprehensible sizes. For example, there is a black hole at the center of a galaxy
(Messier 87) in the Virgo constellation. That black hole at M87’s heart has material being
funneled into it, which is being moved due to the heat. Black holes are forever expanding in both
size and reach, they also happen to make up the center of galaxies. (M87 Galaxy, P.3) Without
them, those galaxies wouldn’t exist because nothing else has a powerful enough pull to keep
stars in a stable orbit from such a long distance.
Now, how exactly does a black hole affect time and space? Well, time is only relative so
acceleration and gravity would have a strong effect of the passage of it.. The faster something
accelerates and the stronger the pull of gravity is, the slower time moves for the object under
these forces. “When near a black hole, time will slow down significantly. There is a point near
the black hole mass below, where time would have appeared to have practically stopped to an
outside observer. This is what is known as the event horizon, a point beyond which not even light

Black Holes


can escape.” Arun Prasath. When dealing with black holes, the perception of time is based off of
the position of where someone/something is.
Though, the degree at which time is affected at and inside of the event horizon is nearly
impossible to comprehend. But, calculations can prove that the larger the mass of an object is
and the smaller its radius, the more of an effect on time it will have. Prasath had given a great
example of how if you were to sit on the outside of the event horizon watching a friend cross,
from your own perspective they would have never moved (or is just moving so slow that it’s like
a slow-motion effect has taken over their body times 10,000). They will never cross the event
horizon from the outside perspective and the event horizon itself will remain forever in the
infinite future. (How Fast Does Time Move at The Event Horizon) Time dilation within a black
hole is great for all of the intents and purposes since time appears to have stopped. At the surface
of a black hole, time does not exist, from time perceived there, the universe would end in the
blink of an eye; as billions of years pass by in a split moment.
Originally it was believed that black holes are usually portrayed to be an inescapable,
indestructible, and a force of the universe that seems to be everlasting; Stephen Hawking actually
managed to prove otherwise. (Mastin, L., P.3) Around the year 1974, Hawking had managed to
prove that black holes do in fact thermally create and emit subatomic particles, this is known as
Hawking radiation, which means that once a black hole use up all of their energy it will
eventually evaporate completely. This theory is basically just saying that black holes are not
completely black and neither do they last forever. (Black Hole Theories) Smaller black holes are
estimated to be larger net emitters and dissipate faster because of their weaker gravitational pull.
Which means they are likely to absorb less mass on average compared to larger black holes. But
be not afraid, the process in which a black hole completely evaporates is so slow that even a

Black Holes


black hole the size of the Earth’s sun would take an estimate of trillions of years to disappear
Black holes really are amazing anomalies in the universe, so complex that we still don’t
understand them completely and are always learning more and more about it. Black holes are the
reason galaxies can exist. They’re the remnants of stars that could possibly be frozen in time, just
waiting for the day that they evaporate completely. It’s such an impossible existence that it’s not
hard to slip into a mindset of wonder that questions and challenges its own existence.

How is a Black Hole Created? (N.D.). Hubble Site Retrieved July 1, 2016,
Mastin, L. Creation of Black Holes, Retrieved July 1, 2016

Black Holes


Prasath, A. A. (2013, June 26). How do Black Holes Impact Time? Retrieved July 1, 2016,
M87 Galaxy Facts. (2016). Space Facts., Retrieved July 1, 2016
Toth, V. T. (2015, March 28). Quora. How Fast Does TIme Move at the Event Horizon of a Black
Hole? Retrieved July 4, 2016,
Zyga, L. (2015, January 30). Black Holes do not Exist Where Space and Time do not
Exist. Retrieved July 7, 2016