As shoppers across the western world open their wallets, NASA has opened its insight into some of the most mysterious entities in the universe. The space agency has littered its website with insight and analysis on black holes as it celebrates its annual #BlackHoleFriday. NASA wrote on its website: “What’s the difference between a black hole and your bank account on Black Friday?
“Stuff’s definitely going to be escaping from your bank account today.
“If you’re not shopping, or on a break between stores, let yourself get sucked in to all this great material we have on black holes. See you on the other side of the event horizon.”
The space agency also said in a tweet: “It’s #BlackHoleFriday, the perfect time to find out the answers to all your burning questions about black holes.”
Black holes are some of the mysterious and most powerful entities in the universe – but what is known of them is terrifying.
They completely break the laws of physics with their singularity at the centre, which is a one-dimensional point where gravity becomes infinite and space and time become curved.
The only other point in nature where a singularity existed is at the Big Bang.
However, researchers believe for a black hole to form, a star has have a mass of at least six times that of the Sun, with nothing of that size anywhere near our solar system.
In fact, the nearest black hole to our planet is located 6,523 light-years away. One light-year is 5.88 trillion miles.
The farthest humans have been from Earth is 248,655 miles (400,171 km) in 1970 as part of NASA’s Apollo 13 mission when the craft swung around the far side of the moon – it took almost three days to get there.
There are a few ways in which a black hole can form.
Scientists believe the most common instance is when a star, thousands of times the size of the Sun, collapses in on itself when it dies – known as a supernova.
Another way is when a large amount of matter, which can be in the form of a gas cloud or a star collapses in on itself through its own gravitational pull.
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Finally, the collision of two neutron stars can cause a black hole.
The gist of all three ways is that a massive amount of mass located in one spot can cause a black hole.
If you were to fall into a black hole, you would be ‘spaghettified’.
For example, if you were travelling feet first into a black hole, the gravity be so strong you would literally be ‘spaghettified’, and you would be stretched out to a point where you would just be a stream of atoms heading towards the centre.
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