Awesome Astronomy

Black Holes!! (a.k.a.This is My first post!)

For my first post I’m going to spend a little time talking about Black Holes, mostly because I think they’re insanely awesome. I’m doing this blog for my astronomy class and the theme is mostly supposed to be modeling of astronomical events, so I’ll begin with a pretty cool little video model of a black hole pulling the material off of a star (#9 on the original page). Sadly it’s not in a format compatible for me to post directly to the blog, but here is a handy link to the page, which has other video models you can view from the Chandra mission:

still from the page:

Black Hole Absorbing a Star

Why is this a useful model? Mostly because we’ve never really been able to observe firsthand anything being absorbed by a blackhole. Partially because of technology and partially because it takes soooo long to happen. Models are particularly nifty in astronomy for that reason, because it usually takes things sssooooo long to happen out there in space (like thousands or millions or even billions of years) models are a way for us to observe processes and make speculations on their outcomes.

I also suggest checking out video # 10 on the Chandra page which models a blackhole in an eliptical galaxy

Black Hole in an Eliptical Galaxy

If you weren’t already aware of it, pretty much every galaxy out there in space has a black hole at the center, even ours. What makes black holes so powerful and dense?

Black holes are quantum singularities. Essentially what happens (and this is a very simplified version of it) is that when massive stars finally finish all their fusing and can’t fuse anymore they collapse in on themselves with such force that all of that matter gets compacted down into an infinitely dense point. You can also think of it as a hole or warp in spacetime, which probably actually doesn’t help much.

I was unable to find a good model of a black hole forming (although they’re probably out there somewhere) but this is a pretty cool animation of blackholes that have already formed galaxies colliding (again something that would take millions of years to happen in real time):

Black holes can really only be seen in their relation to other matter (like stuff orbiting it or being pulled in). This is a very exagerrated image of what a black hole might look like in a Large Magellanic Cloud:

Illustration of a Black Hole

So models are useful for yet another reason: we can’t really see black holes so well with the naked eye, or even with many telescopes for that matter.

Black holes are all around amazing!

If you want to know anymore about the basics of black holes I’ll do the unthinkable and refer you to Wikipedia:

That’s all for the basics on modeling black holes for now. Next time I’ll be talking about Time and General Relativity (and probably more black holes)!


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