The nature of our universe poses a lot of questions. Understanding how a black hole works is one of the many space-related mysteries scientists have been trying to unravel for decades. What would happen if two black holes collide? We have the answers.
Black holes are some of the most interesting and awesome things in our universe. They sure seem like magical concepts that could be found scripted in the supra hot place many thousands of years ago. While we do not know everything about black holes, diagrams and theories are abundant. We know they exist, as well as how some of them form.
The geologist George Mitchell was the first to theorize about the concept of black holes in the 18th century. He understood that if one were to compress the mass of our Sun by several times, its gravity would become so immense that an object would need to be faster than the speed of light to not get sucked into the spot.
At first, black holes were thought to be mere theoretic concepts. Not even Einstein believed in them. Nowadays, we know for a fact, black holes are all around us.
What is a Black Hole in Space?
When defining a black hole, the first thing that should be clear is that it is not technically a hole in space. Essentially, it is an area in space where the power of gravity is incredibly strong. It is so strong that even light gets sucked into it. Why is a black hole’s gravity so immense? That is because a black hole represents an area where an incredible amount of matter has been pressed together.
The more mass you have in one spot, the more gravity it will have. A black hole is not a tear in space, neither is it an actual object. The closest approximation is that of a sphere, such as an immaterial ball that hangs around in space – a very hungry immaterial ball.
Black holes are known to be the vacuum cleaners of space, although things have to come quite close to them to start to get swallowed. If our sun were to become a black hole, our earth would still keep orbiting around it. If things get too close to one, they get sucked into the event horizon, be it stars, planets, or spacecraft.
At the point of no return, objects become swallowed, stretched out, and compressed. The theoretical process is also known as spaghettification. What happens inside a black hole remains a mystery. If we were to put the size of a black hole into perspective, it certainly is startling.
Around one million Earths can be fitted into the Sun. If you take a star ten times the size of the Sun, and then compress it into the size of a small city, you get a tiny black hole.
However, it should be noted that black holes come in a variety of sizes. The four categories are stellar mass, miniature, intermediate, and supermassive black holes.
Also check: Why you can’t survive falling into a Black Hole?
The Process of Black Holes Formation
The formation of black holes most commonly springs from stellar death. As stars come to the ends of their lives, the process of black hole formation begins. Stars exist in a perfect balance which is held up by two strong opposing forces. One is the inward pull of gravity, which is trying to collapse the star. The second is the outward push, which is emitted by radiation. At the core of a star, millions of tons of hydrogen get converted to helium each second, resulting in the release of gamma radiation. The fusion process is also known as an exothermic reaction. It means that it releases more energy than is needed for sustaining itself.
Once a star uses all of the hydrogen reserves, it changes to the built-up helium. Then, to carbon, and eventually oxygen. As stars continue to emit radiation, they counteract gravity. Small stars will stop eventually and turn into white dwarfs.
However, for stars that are around five times the physical mass of our Sun, the process goes on. Eventually, they consume more and more elements from the periodic table. When they reach iron, no more energy can be created via the fusion process. Once that happens, the star stops emitting radiation and instantly implodes due to the gravitational pull inside. The entire mass of a star keeps on colliding in on itself, thus forming a black hole.
A black hole’s density keeps increasing as this happens. Black holes can also form when two stars collide, though that is rarer. Still, that is not to say that we have it all figured out. The origins of supermassive black holes found in the center of each galaxy remain an unsolved question. Astronomers still do not know how these come about.
What Happens if two Black Holes Collides?
According to the theoretical astrophysicist Jillian Bellovary, when two black holes meet, they simply make a bigger black hole.
The concept could be likened to two droplets of water merging into one. Although, interestingly, the two masses of each black hole do not add up to the sum of the newly formed one. The new, big black hole will always be less than the sum of the two merged ones. That is because some percentage of the mass gets converted to energy as it radiates outward in the form of gravitational waves. We know this because relevant ripples in space-time were detected with the LIGO detector.
The astrophysicist claims that the newly formed black hole might also experience a significant kick in velocity, resulting in a fast shooting off in a random direction. That has not been observed as of yet, but it is thought to be true by the leading scientists in the field. They still do not know how much of a velocity increase results, and whether it is enough to shoot the newly formed black hole out of the galaxy, or just make it wander around at the edges.
How Do We Study Black Holes?
A black hole has the ability to swallow all light. That makes it difficult to observe them directly, like stars. However, there are ways one can spot them.
Firstly, the intense gravity emitted by black holes can tug at the surrounding objects. Erratic movements of space bodies can be observed, and thus, candidates can be detected.
Secondly, black holes can be considered to be messy eaters. When they start sipping on the surrounding stars, the vast magnetic and gravitational forces superheat the inflating dust and gas. That causes radiation, which can be observed and identified by scientists.
We hope that you enjoyed our little space excursion into the nature of black holes. They are incredibly fascinating things, and they still hold many secrets to be discovered. Hopefully, we will find out more about their nature as time goes on. Wouldn’t you love to know how the supermassive black holes get created? What do you think happens when you get sucked into a black hole? We would love to know your opinions in the comment section below!