Why dress like a werewolf, a witch, or a vampire these days when there will always be something scarier in the Universe than anything else? Black holes easily qualify themselves for that description, although we haven’t seen them in movies or video games dedicated to Halloween.
Black holes act like vacuum cleaners of the Universe, devouring entire solar systems that get too close. Scientists had always been struggling to fully understand how these monsters work, and they’re currently far from discovering everything about them. But let’s see why black holes are so scary:
Death by ‘spaghettification’
Any object that approaches a black hole would be ‘spaghettified’, meaning that it will be stretched until it slowly rips apart before hitting any surface of the cosmic monster itself. Even molecules would be disrupted. This idea was popularized by the great former scientist Stephen Hawking, and it happens due to the black hole’s infinite gravity that doesn’t spare anything that gets too close, not even light.
Defying the laws of physics
Black holes are even defying the laws of physics themselves. Objects are attracted towards a black hole at speeds even faster than light, and time itself simply stops inside such a cosmic monster due to the infinite gravity. It’s a mystery how such mind-boggling traits are possible, but let’s hope that science will provide some compelling answers someday.
Dwelling at the heart of galaxies
The Hubble space telescope operated by NASA and ESA has the great merit of showing that many galaxies are powered by supermassive black holes located at their centers. There’s one such black hole at the heart of each galaxy, so now you know for sure where to find one. Although these supermassive black holes are constantly engulfing material, the existence of the galaxies themselves wouldn’t be possible without them.
The Universe seems to be celebrating Halloween in its own way, as scientists estimate that there are between 10 million to a billion black holes only in our Milky Way galaxy.