The lecture this past week got me interested and i started doing a little research on some interesting things in space.  It really was actually some of the most enjoyable research I’ve ever done. This week, what i found most interesting during my research were black holes. I realize that supernovas, exploding stars, etc can be somewhat redundant, but very few things that i read were repeatative.  This just goes to show how quickly knowledge in science changes( doubles every ten years :)   Below is a visual of a “supermassive black hole.”

A black hole is actually a region in space, created by dying stars with a mass somewhere around 20 times the mass of our sun, in which nothing, including light(electromagnetic radiation) can escape. The escape can’t occur past the event horizon, which is the line defined by the theory of relativity in which an observer is not affected by anything past the line and vice versa. To escape the earth’s gravitational pull, whatever it is must be traveling at 11 kilometers/second.This is when we apply a Newtonian approach.  However this becomes somewhat difficult when you realize that light, a massless object is affected by the pull of the black hole.  To resolve this, we resort to Eienstein’s theory of relativity. In a nutshell, Einsteins theory of relativity states that time and space are not independent concepts, but rather that something cannot move forward in space without moving forward in time etc. It also states that nothing can change its position in space in a smaller period of time than light.  Anyone who wants to research it further should focus on the spacetime continuum.   When addressing the issue of the gravitational pull, it’s interesting to note that the black hole can increase in mass.  This is actually where the correllation drawn between the mass of the dying star and whether or not a black hole is created becomes important.  When a certain amount of mass is present in a “sufficient” amount of space, all paths in space etc are directed towards the center of that mass in a path in which not even radation or light can escape.  Even interstellar dust is pulled towards a black hole.

Something else i found rather interesting was that black holes may have a finite lifespan.  Research currently indicates that black holes may emit a form of thermal radiation, know formally as Hawking radiation. This emission of energy suggests that, unless it is infinite, it will one day run out, implying a finite number of days to exist!  This is also in reference to the theory of relativity in which mass is merely highly condensed energy.  So it’s somewhat of a weird war between gain and constant loss of mass.  It’s also speculated that a supermassive black hole( that one’s self explanatory) exists at the center of every large galaxy.  This implies that the two are obviously connected in some way.  Scientist are actually quite positive, currently anyway, that a supermassive black hole exists somewhere in the milky way.

Another really interesting fact that has nothing to do with black holes is cold welding.  I found this researching black holes and it’s interesting to find that contact welding, in which no form of fusion etc exists.  That by the force of adhesion, and a possibly more ductile surface, two metals can weld and stick together in space.  Also is a great resource for links on black holes!

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