What are Black Holes?

Known for its strong gravitational field and captivating mystery, a black hole, also referred as a singularity, remains confusing and indescribable to all of those who attempt to comprehend it; something so fascinating, yet unseen, unrecorded by man, and undetected by technology. Black holes prevail as one of the universe’s greatest phenomenons.

The definition of a black hole is “a region of space [that has] a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape” (Smith), which fails to fully describe a black hole. They are not completely understood by humanity, but there are some things that scientists are well aware of, for instance, how they come to be. There are multiple ways to trigger the creation of a black hole, one of them being when a large mass in space accumulates in a very small area. Hawking says “it is like piling more and more books into a library. Eventually, the shelves will give way, and the library will collapse into a black hole” (Hawking). Another way black holes are created is in the collision of two stars within a binary system. After merging, a black hole is born. The third way for a black hole to be created is when a star eventually runs out of fuel, and if the mass of the star is so immense that it can’t be held, then the star will shrink and its matter will be compressed into an “infinitely small, infinitely dense point called a singularity. This is the center of a black hole” (Allen). You may be wondering how it is a black hole dies, given that some of them come from dead stars. In other words, how can something that is already dead… die? This happens because of Hawking radiation. In the event horizon of a black hole, there are matter and antimatter particles merging at all the times and converting into energy. As a consequence, if an antimatter particle falls into the singularity of the black hole then it will merge with a matter particle within the singularity of the black hole, and “antimatter destroys matter” (Brandvold). Therefore, the black hole would shrink but it would be almost insignificant since “The bigger the Black hole, the shorter the lifespan” (Brandvold).

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