The Closest Black Hole to Earth

By: Farah StandleyWhat Are Black Holes? | NASA


Black holes are created by the center of a very large star falling in on itself, resulting in a supernova, which is basically a gigantic star explosion. It might seem cool, but let me tell you about how dangerous and scary these circles of doom can be!

Recently, scientists discovered the closest known black hole to Earth yet! Named Gaia BH1, this black hole is 1566 lightyears away in the constellation Ophiuchus and currently dormant. So don’t worry, it’s not close enough to be a threat. It is 1400 lightyears closer than the next closest black hole to Earth, which is in the constellation Monoceros. There are likely millions of black holes in our home galaxy, the Milky Way, but this one is close enough to be considered in our “cosmic backyard”. It is 10 times more massive than the Sun, and could have originated from a star as big as 20 times more massive than the Sun.

Black holes usually reveal themselves with x-rays they emit while stripping gas from other nearby black holes. This is not the case for this one, though. Gaia BH1 was discovered by scientists seeing its effect on a star in its planetary system. Scientists also discovered that this mysterious black hole is orbiting a ginormous star, how crazy is that! The gravity in black holes  is so strong, not even light can escape them. If we were to go into a black hole, we would be compressed from head to toe horizontally, but stretched vertically at the same time. This process is known as spaghettification, probably because afterward you would end up looking like a spaghetti noodle. If it were to swallow Earth, we would all be doomed. The planet would be ripped apart bit by bit, and every person on 

Earth would be spaghettified individually. Lucky for us, that won’t be our fate because it is too far away.

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