Mysterious origins of Universe's biggest black holes

Mysterious origins of Universe's biggest black holes

A black hole is a finite region of space-time where the gravitational field is so strong that nothing, including light, can escape. Black holes themselves cannot be observed, but the matter around them can be detected. This is called an accretion disk. It is formed from matter that is attracted to the center of the black hole.

To get a little idea of ​​how black holes are formed, we can imagine that we strongly compress an object to increase its density, however, due to electromagnetic and nuclear forces, the material will begin to resist.

For us, to compress it into such a small, extremely dense volume to form a black hole would require enormous force, or implosion, like a supernova. A supernova occurs when a massive star dies, releasing a large amount of energy in an explosion, and collapsing to form a black hole.

The most studied types of black holes are stellar-mass black holes and supermassive black holes. Stellar black holes are the cold remnants of massive stars (10 to 15 times more massive than our sun) that have entered the final stages of their lives. These black holes are scattered throughout our galaxy and universe.

Many stars in their final stages eventually become white dwarfs or neutron stars. However, these stars can be so unstable that they produce explosions called supernovae. At this stage, the star does not have enough strength to withstand the gravitational pull, so the star begins to shrink until it forms a black hole.

This is a binary star system located next to a massive star next to a stellar black hole, from which it draws energy. Both are part of a binary star system, where the first star becomes a black hole after undergoing a massive explosion called a supernova. The second is absorbed, its material forms an accretion disk, and it emits radio waves or X-rays.

Supermassive black holes are veritable monsters that exist at the center of many galaxies, including our own Milky Way. They have masses in the millions or billions of solar masses and extend as far as a solar system.

Supermassive black holes play an important role in the evolution of galaxies. It has been observed that most (but not all) galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their center. The origin of supermassive black holes is a research area with great potential today. There is still much to discover.

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