A black hole is a place in space where the gravity is so strong that it pulls everything in, including light. Without light coming from the black hole we are unable to see it. We only know they exist by observing how they affect the things around them. Black holes are believed to be the remains of dead stars or collapsed gas clouds.
New Kind of Black Hole May 21, 1999
Two groups of astronomers have discovered a new kind of black hole.
The galaxy named M82 may have one of these new black holes in its center.
Until now, it was believed that black holes came in two sizes, stellar
which are small, and super-massive which are really large. Astronomers think
that stellar black holes are what are left from a burned out star. These remains
are several times heavier than our sun, but are squished down to only a few
miles wide. Astronomers think that combining millions or billions of stars or
giant gas clouds squished together creates super-massive black holes. The
super-massive black holes are wider than millions of stars.
The new kind of black holes are different because they are
medium sized and are only 100 to 10,000 times heavier than our sun but are
smaller than our moon. They can be found in spiral-shaped galaxies.
Astronomers from NASA and from Carnegie Mellon University discovered the new
black holes at the same time by looking for a special kind of light called X-ray
light. This is the same kind of light used to take pictures of your bones when
you break your arm or leg. This light is made when things get sucked into the
The NASA astronomers are Dr. Colbert and Dr. Mushotzky, and the Carnegie
Mellon University astronomers are Dr. Ptak and Dr. Griffiths. They are
reporting their discovery in scientific news papers called journals for other
astronomers to read. They are called the Astrophysical
Journal and the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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