Black Hole

(Last edited: Tuesday, 29 August 2023, 5:24 PM)


Short definition: A Black Hole is a region of spacetime where the gravitational field is so strong that nothing, not even light or other electromagnetic waves can escape its event horizon. An event horizon is “the point of no return”, meaning the boundary beyond which nothing can escape.

Detailed definition: Since Black Holes can’t be observed directly with telescopes, they’re usually detected by other means, such as observing their gravitational influence on their surroundings.

Most Black Holes are formed from large stars that die in a supernova explosion - these Black Holes are usually around 20 times as massive as the Sun. However, there also exist Black Holes that are incredibly large, called Supermassive Black Holes, which can be millions or even billions times as massive as the Sun. Scientists believe that at the centre of almost every big galaxy lies a Supermassive Black Hole, for example Sagittarius A* at the centre of the Milky Way.

Etymology: Presumably in December 1967, a student suggested the phrase "black hole" at a lecture by John Wheeler; Wheeler adopted the term for its brevity and "advertising value", and it quickly caught on. (Source: Siegfried, T. (2019, August 9). 50 years later, it’s hard to say who named Black Holes. Science News.

Sample sentence(s): Some Black Holes apparently have nonstellar origins. (Source: Lohnes, K. (n.d.). How Do Black Holes Really Work? Encyclopedia Britannica. )


French: Trou noir

German: Schwarzes Loch

Italian: buco nero

Polish: Czarna dziura

Swedish: Svart hål

Links to Videos/Articles: 

The Economist. (2022, July 12). Black holes: why they matter [Video]. YouTube.

Black Holes | Science Mission Directorate. (n.d.).

Lohnes, K. (n.d.). How Do Black Holes Really Work? Encyclopedia Britannica.

» Dictionary of Space Concepts