Your donation will support the student journalists of School for Advanced Studies-Wolfson. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.
The Eater of Worlds
January 31, 2023
Black holes form when massive stars collapse and consume everything on their path; even light cannot escape from their grasp. Supermassive black holes could even be considered to be millions-borderline-billions of times larger in mass relative to our sun.
Most black holes lie in the center of the galaxy they inhabit, though there is uncertainty about what came first between a galaxy and a black hole. Initially, we may assume that it would be extremely difficult to identify a black hole’s location, yet they generate a great amount of electromagnetic radiation. Using telescopes and devices such as the LIGO detector, astronomers can recognize electromagnetic radiation or gravitational waves to reveal where black holes lie in certain galaxies and throughout the entire universe.
Black holes eat up all matter that they encounter; however, it has been theorized that “white holes” do the opposite by spewing out radiation and particles. Recently there has been controversy surrounding black holes and white holes due to the uncertainty that they actually could both be wormholes. Current research is aiming toward unifying both ideas by following the Einstein-Rosen bridge theory – the conjecture lays the premise that wormholes and black holes would be indistinguishable due to their small differences in light polarization (light that vibrates in one plane). Both celestial objects continue to be studied, as current technology will not be able to procure sufficient, solid evidence to back the theory.
Another important thing to consider is how black holes affect galaxies and the space systems they are located in. In November 2022, Gaia BH1, the nearest black hole to Earth, was discovered to have an orbiting star. However, the black hole itself causes small irregularities in the star’s movement, and we were only able to detect this black hole due to the energetic interaction it shares with the star. As black holes feed more and more material and matter to the star, they begin to emit X-rays which makes them easier to identify; nonetheless, if the black hole doesn’t interact with anything in its proximity then it will be harder to detect its presence until it has suddenly found a new object to devour.