Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Devon from AL. Devon Wonders, “What do black holes do?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Devon!
Our universe is full of mystery. Are you curious about other planets? How about faraway galaxies? Maybe you stare at the night sky WONDERing if there’s someone looking back. Or perhaps you’re fascinated by one of the most mysterious objects in outer space—the black hole.
Black holes form from enormous stars more than three times the size of our Sun. When one runs out of fuel, it can no longer support its heavy weight. It begins to collapse into its own intense gravity. Pressure from the star’s hydrogen layers force it to become smaller. Eventually, the star is squeezed into a tiny space—even smaller than an atom—and a black hole is born.
A black hole is not really a hole. And it’s not empty! It is a huge amount of mass packed into a tiny space—a point at the center of the black hole, called a singularity. This mass gives the black hole very strong gravity. Nothing can escape its pull—not even light!
Does that mean a black hole is like a big vacuum in space? Does it pull surrounding objects into its center and then swallow them? No, not exactly. It’s true that the intense gravity can cause objects to fall into the black hole. However, other objects will orbit the black hole instead, much like the Earth does around the Sun.
For most of human history, black holes have been some of the most mysterious objects in outer space. Today, though, experts have made great strides in learning more about them. Organizations like NASA collect information about black holes using satellites and telescopes. In 2019, a team of scientists even took the first ever photograph of a black hole. Experts hope to keep learning more about these objects in the future.
Are you curious about outer space? Do you dream of learning all there is to know about black holes? There’s certainly plenty left to learn! Maybe you’ll one day unlock new secrets of this mysterious part of our universe.
Standards: NGSS.ESS1.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2