Terry's Sky Notes

Terry's Sky Notes

BLACK HOLES

November is known to have only a few good cloudless clear night skies and therefore this month we write about some `invisible’ objects.

Astronomers and scientists using instruments capable of detecting electro-magnetic radiation data such as infra-red, ultra violet and x-ray readings, have observed dark regions of space where gravitational perturbations suggest the unseen presence of something immensely vast, powerful and so strong that even visible light is unable to escape from its pull. These areas have been described as `Black Holes’.

 

Black holes are thought to be the remains of super massive stars which, on reached the end of their life cycle, have collapsed to form dense circulating whirlpools that draw in and absorb anything within their gravitational attraction range. The more matter that is absorbed, the greater their mass and density becomes and their absorption powers also increase. They can attract and assimilate stars, particles of cosmic debris such as gas, dust and even other black holes. The accretion disk zone where the absorption takes place is known as the event horizon - the point of no return.

Many galaxies are believed to contain black holes at their centre. The centre of the Milky Way contains a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A, thought to be around 4.3 million x the mass of the Sun.

 

However, if the skies are clear around the 12th November, as the Earth’s orbit intersects with the trail of asteroid 2004 TG10 , look out for fireball activity associated with the Northern Taurids Meteor Shower.

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