Unlike most things in space—such as nebulas, planets, stars, moons, or asteroids—black holes don’t actually have a surface.
You can’t land on one or even touch one.
Albert Einstein predicted their existence in his general theory of relativity in 1916, but scientists didn’t discover the first black hole until 1971!
They range in size from primordial black holes—the size of a single atom—to supermassive black holes—the size of up to one million of our suns!
Their gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape them—not even light!
This means that scientists can’t technically see black holes, which explains their name.
By looking for patterns in how nearby stars, space dust, gas fields, and even entire galaxies behave, scientists have figured out ways to determine where black holes might be found.
There’s actually scientific debate happening right now around whether the center of our own Milky Way galaxy is a black hole, or clumps of dark matter—another super cool, but super mysterious thing you’ll find in space.
Four of the most well-known black holes include:
- Sagittarius A*
- Cygnus X-1
- Centaurus A