Black holes – they’re one of our greatest sources of both fascination and fear. Most of us picture black holes as immense voids of empty space so large that it can be hard to comprehend their scale.
What would happen if a micro-black hole appeared, though? Could it still be just as catastrophic? And is there even such a thing as a small black hole?
What Is A Black Hole?
A black hole is the result of a huge stellar object collapsing under its own gravity. It’s a region of spacetime where the matter has been crushed into a tiny point. This means that anything that falls in will never escape… not even light!
As well as being incredibly dense, black holes are also extremely hot, with temperatures reaching millions of degrees. They have no known purpose, but scientists believe they may hold the key to understanding dark energy and the universe itself.
Black Holes: How Do They Form?
Black holes form when massive stars collapse at the end of their lives. Gravity causes them to shrink until they become infinitely dense points of infinite mass.
These objects are called singularities because they contain no length scales. There’s no way to tell for sure how big they are, but scientists can have a pretty good guess.
How Big Are Black Holes?
The biggest black holes we know about are located billions of light-years from Earth. They’re part of a galaxy called Messier 87 (M87).
M87 contains a supermassive black hole that weighs around six billion times more than our Sun. That makes it the largest black hole ever discovered.
But what about smaller ones? Scientists think that there could be black holes as small as 10 miles across. If these exist, they’d only weigh around 20 million tons. But that’s still enough to cause devastation on a cosmic scale!
Smaller black holes might not seem like much, but they could still destroy everything within a few hundred thousand kilometers. In fact, this is exactly what happened during the birth of our solar system.
When the Sun was formed, it released a huge amount of material orbiting around it.
Some of this material fell into the center of the Sun and became trapped inside a giant ball of gas. This ball collapsed under its own weight and formed the first black hole.
What’s The Smallest Black Hole In The Universe?
We know black holes tend to be pretty big, but how small are the smallest ones? Well, we don’t actually know for sure, but scientists suspect they could be as little as a single atom wide.
The problem is that any black hole less than a single atom wide wouldn’t be able to hold together long enough to form. So while we can’t say how small black holes are, we do know they must be bigger than atoms.
One of the smallest black holes ever found was dubbed ‘The Unicorn.’ This name came from the fact that this black hole is incredibly rare, and it was also discovered within the Monoceros constellation – Monoceros meaning ‘unicorn’.
The black hole with the smallest mass ever discovered was named the XTE J1650-500. Even with a mass considered ‘small,’ the mass of this black hole is still 3.8 times bigger than the mass of the sun!
Despite this, it only measures around 15 miles in diameter. To give you an idea of just how small this really is, most black holes have a diameter of between 100km and 1000km!
Micro Black Holes – Here’s What You Need To Know
Scientists aren’t entirely sure what happens after a star collapses. But they do know that some sort of event occurs.
So, for example, when a star collapses, the gravitational force becomes strong enough to crush all the particles into a tiny point.
At this point, the theory goes, and the laws of physics break down. And if you want to get technical, we’re talking about quantum gravity here.
This means that the size of a black hole is determined by the strength of gravity. This is why the smallest one we’ve found so far is just a few trillionths of a gram. That’s equivalent to around 50 million tons.
So how does such a tiny black hole work? Well, it’s possible that the particle density gets so high that even though the space itself is very small, the energy required to keep the particles apart is enormous.
It’s also possible that the particles themselves have a finite size, and the black hole is simply too small to accommodate them.
So what would happen if you were in orbit around a micro-black hole? Well, according to Einstein’s general relativity, nothing special would happen. But if you were traveling faster than the speed of light, then you’d fall into it.
Is A Micro Black Hole Real?
The answer is yes. There are two types of micro-black holes: stellar-mass black holes and intermediate-mass black holes.
Stellar-mass black holes are created when stars die. These are the kind of black holes that we see at the centers of galaxies.
Intermediate-mass black holes are made from supermassive stars. They’re larger than normal stars but smaller than neutron stars.
These kinds of black holes are thought to be responsible for quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. Quasars emit more radiation than anything else.
Most likely, these black holes are growing through accretion. Accretion is when matter falls onto a black hole.
How Do We Find Them?
Finding micro-black holes isn’t easy. Scientists think there are two ways to find them. One involves looking for the effects that they have on their environment.
For instance, if you look at the spectrum of an active galaxy, you’ll notice something called broad absorption lines. These are caused by gas falling towards the center of the galaxy. This gas will eventually become part of a black hole.
Another way to find them is with gamma-ray bursts. Gamma-ray bursts are extremely bright flashes of light. They occur when massive amounts of material collapse onto a black hole.
When this happens, the black hole releases huge amounts of energy. This causes the surrounding area to heat up. As the temperature rises, the photons emitted start to glow brightly.
If you wait long enough, you might catch a glimpse of a micro black hole.
Although most black holes tend to be large, we do occasionally see small ones, too. So don’t be fooled by their compact form and cute names, though; these black holes can still be dangerous!
Tiny black holes can even be man-made, too. In fact, scientists are already working on building miniature artificial versions of them in order to study their nature more closely!
This is entirely safe, though, so don’t let the idea of man made blackholes destroying the world keep you up at night — you are safe, we promise!
If you’re fascinated by all things black hole related, we urge you to keep a firm eye on astrological news and events.
Although scientists have already found some super small black holes, we think it’s only a matter of time before even smaller ones are discovered, and personally, we can’t wait!
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