Could A Black Hole Bring the End of the World?


A black hole is most likely described to be a result of a dying star, or as it might be called “star dust”; black holes are one of the most dangerous objects, as they can be illustrated as giant cosmic vacuum cleaners. Having a gravitational force that is so strong that even light goes through it, is what makes them dangerous. These former stars or star dust have been the concern of many scientists, so they observe them and their surroundings with special telescopes.

What are the Types of Black Holes?

Black holes have three types: stellar, supermassive, and intermediate-mass. The stellar type is the smallest; it is mainly formed out of a supernova—a super-powerful and luminous explosion of a star. Stellar black holes are all around our galaxy; the most distant one ever detected is about 13.1 billion light-years from Earth, so it cannot do us any harm. Each typically has a mass between about three and ten solar masses—a solar mass is a standard unit used in astronomy, defined as the mass of our Sun, and equals approximately 2×1030 kg.

The supermassive type, on the other hand, is mostly found in the center of most galaxies, including our Milky Way. This type is colossally heavy, and has a mass range of more than millions, even billions, of solar masses. Scientists believe they are incredibly massive due to their centered presence in the galaxies. This particular type of black holes has the tendency of growing into heavier ones as the galaxies merge, making them the most dangerous type of black holes.

The third type is the Intermediate-Mass Black Hole (IMBH), which is estimated to have a mass between one-hundred and one-thousand solar masses. This type cannot be out of just a single star dust; it is believed that it might be formed by a single black hole devouring so many objects, or even merging with another black hole; leaving grand problems to scientists that have no answers until now.

Will our Sun become a black hole?

Some studies were conducted to show what would happen if the Sun became a black hole at some point of its existence. Those hypothetical studies claimed that, should the Sun become a black hole, Earth would fall into total darkness, and everything would immediately freeze.

However, the Sun will never turn into a black hole, because it is said to have less mass than needed to turn into one. When the Sun is about to reach its end and run out of its fuel, it will automatically throw off outer layers turning into a glowing gas ring known as a “planetary nebula”. After reaching this stage, there will only be a white dwarf star, which is a star of relatively small size.

Is Earth next on schedule?

Black holes obey the laws of gravity, which were first introduced to the world by the great scientist Isaac Newton. As stated in his law, there is a force that attracts all bodies making them move in calculated directions and measured speeds depending on the mass of those bodies.

That said, black holes cannot just wander the outer space or the universe swallowing planets that stand in their way. In order for a black hole to affect Earth, it needs to be so close to the solar system, which rarely happens. Even if our Sun is replaced by a black hole with the same mass, Earth would totally be in its normal position as the black hole will keep the same gravity as the Sun.

Then, why are scientists concerned?

Black holes may be thought of as far and distant objects of concern; nothing to worry about here and now. Yet, it might be a closer concern than we think, as groups of scientists studying black holes are managing to create one for an experiment! People fear that this might bring about the end of our world.

Researchers state that studying the mystery of those astonishing black holes is real fun, and will definitely lead to new discoveries that might be in great use to us. Some arguments by the famous physicist Stephen Hawking made scientists conclude that those tiny black holes would only stay for a tiny bit of time before they permanently vanish. Theoretically, they would immediately disappear, but what if they did not? What if they managed to stay for much longer? Would we be doomed then?

Of course not; those black holes would be moving so fast that they will head to outer space. Some of them would be moving slower than others, which is far from happening; they will be trapped on Earth due to its gravity, but would not be a threat to us at all, as they would only absorb a tiny amount of Earth’s matter.

Until now, scientists have not succeeded in creating a black hole; however, as curiosity is the mother of science, we would be hearing of some successful experiments in the near future. It would be something that could be of great help for improving and proving some theories.


The original article was published in SCIplanet, Spring 2020 issue "Dualities of Life: The Earth and The Sky".

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