A black hole is an area in space where the force of gravity is so strong that light cannot escape. The pull of gravity is great because matter has been concentrated in a small space. This can happen when a star runs out of fuel and collapses into a smaller and smaller space. This lack of light results in the black color.
Image: Depiction of a black hole (© Sabphoto).
Stellar Black Hole
A stellar black hole is created when a large star collapses. This occurs when a star is running out of fuel and dying. The star’s outer layers begin to collapse inwards and the star begins to get smaller and smaller. However, as the star gets smaller, its gravitational pull gets stronger and stronger.
Supermassive Black Hole
The supermassive black hole is found at the center of galaxies. Its mass could be equal to a million of our suns. It is thought that these were created when a galaxy was being formed.
The collapse of many smaller black holes, of massive clouds of gas, or of many stars could create the supermassive black hole.
Miniature Black Holes
Tiny black holes may have been formed when the universe was created. Following the Big Bang, miniature black holes may have been created. These have a mass that is much less than our sun compressed into the size of an atom.
Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills
Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.
How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.