Astrophysics is a field of physics about which very little is still known, being based only on models, simulations and often indirect observations, and never on experiments. Observations regarding black holes are among the most complex.
But what is a black hole? Think about when you jump: the higher your deadlift speed, the higher you will be able to get. Depending on the mass that attracts you to the bottom, it will take a higher speed to reach a certain height.
Light, which moves at the maximum speed that can be reached in our universe (almost three hundred thousand kilometers per hour) is also attracted by gravity.
In short, a black hole is an astronomical object with such a high mass that even light cannot escape from it (or jump out of it, if you prefer).
Astrophysicists are aware of two types of black holes, which are incredibly different in their mass:
- THE stellar black holes, with a mass about ten times greater than that of the Sun, are formed when a star contracts and dies, in an event called a “supernova explosion”.
- THE super-massive black holes they are at the center of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way (not so far from Earth!). They are incredibly “heavy”, with masses billions of times larger than the mass of the Sun.
Last year the first “photograph” of a black hole he had been around the web and we too had told you about it in detail; thanks to that measurement, carried out by the LIGO and VIRGO observers, of a merger (a merger of two black holes), a third type of black hole, of intermediate mass, between 100 and 1000 solar masses.
One possible explanation for the existence of these “new” astronomical objects is that they are formed during black hole merger events.