The Stretcher

Specification

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 Product: The Stretcher

 Family Member: Black HolePink alien 2 125 px

 Product Code: Str-BH

  • The Chandra image of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4261 reveals dozens of black holes and neutron stars strung out across tens of thousands of light years like beads on a necklace.
  • Giant Disk of Cold Gas and Dust Fuels Possible Black Hole at the Core of NGC 4261
  • The Hubble telescope photo of gas being sucked into a black hole. In the NGC 4261 galaxy

Credit all images NASA, public domain

Overview

Pink alien 5 125pxThe Stretcher Black Hole is one of three types of black holes currently available from Cosmic Caboodle’s intergalactic online shop and it’s free.

A black hole is a compact and very dense object in space with a super strong gravitational pull. It is so strong that not even light can escape it. They are commonly formed after the death of a giant star.

Status: Proven & Real

Black holes are real and exist in our very own Milky Way galaxy.  Although we haven’t actually seen a black hole (because they suck in any light nearby), we do know they exist. What we can see, with big telescopes and satellites, is what they do to the surrounding gases and stars. For example, scientists can observe gases that appear to be vanishing inside a black hole (see photo above).

Physical Properties

Our black holes are categorised into 4 groups based on size and mass (mass is the amount of matter, or ‘stuff’ that is inside an object).

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To understand just how heavy a black hole is, imagine if you had a black hole the size of an atom (atoms are so small you can’t even see them with the help of a microscope). But you couldn’t hold it, because it would weigh as much as a giant mountain.

Key

  • Mmoon Moon mass the mass of our Moon (7.3477 x 1022 kg). (That’s really heavy for something only 0.1mm big!)
  • MSun  Solar mass is mass of our Sun which weighs an amazing nonillion kilograms (1.98855 x 1030 kg)
  • REarth  Earth radius is the distance from Earth’s centre to its surface, about 6,371 km (3,959 miles).
  • AU Astronomical Unit roughly the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Its exact number is 149,597,870.7 km

To understand just how heavy a black hole is, imagine if you had a black hole the size of an atom (atoms are so small you can’t even see them with the help of a microscope). But you couldn’t hold it, because it would weigh as much as a giant mountain.

Name / Mass / Size

  • Micro black hole / Up to Mmoon / 0.1mm
  • Stellar black hole / About 10 Mmoon / Up to 30km
  • Intermediate mass black hole / About 1,000 MSun / 10km to REarth
  • Supermassive black hole / 100,000 to 1010 / MSun 0.001-400 AU

Technical Specification

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Stretcher 199pxWe can’t directly see a black hole because gravity pulls all light into it, which means we can’t see what’s happening inside of one. So to understand what the Stretcher black hole looks like we need to use our imagination and the language of mathematics. This is what scientists call a thought experiment. 

Imagine a small group of aliens traveling in outer space. If they happen to get close enough to a black hole, the forces of gravity will start to pull them towards it. The mathematics used to explain this stems back to the famous physicist Albert Einstein who published a paper on general relativity in 1915. Using this mathematics, scientists can explain what happens next.

Gravity continues to pull the aliens into the black hole.  Eventually they will pass what’s called the event horizon (This is the point of no return. Gravity is so strong that nothing will be able to pull you back out).

The aliens will now get pulled so much, that they will begin to s – t – r – e – t – c – h out like a long piece of spaghetti until they pop! The popped pieces will continue to get pulled into the heart of the black hole and eventually get crushed into a very teeny, weeny mass.Pink alien 2 125 px

But don’t worry about our little alien friends. They have not been hurt because we only imagined it. Aliens are smart enough to avoid black holes

The Sizzler