Kugelblitz, The Theoretical Black Hole Made Of Light

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Kugelblitz, The Theoretical Black Hole Made Of Light

You might think light is the antithesis of a black hole, but that may not be the case. Physicists say that it should theoretically be possible to create a black hole out of nothing but light. This would be called a kugelblitz, named after a German word meaning "ball lightning." Usually, black holes are created when a huge amount of matter is packed into a tiny space, increasing its density. But since light has no mass, how could it become a black hole? Light may be mass-less, but it does contain energy. Einstein's E=mc^2 tells us that gravity treats the energy stored in matter and the mass in matter the same -- it pulls on them both. But you'd need a lot of light to actually make a black hole out of it. To create an Earth-sized kugelblitz, you'd need all of the light emitted over 10 years by all the stars within 350 light-years of Earth. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Physicists say it should be possible to create a black hole out of nothing but light, which is called a kugelblitz. 0:03

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    Usually, a black hole is formed when a lot of matter is packed into very little space, which increases its density. 0:22

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    To create a kugelblitz, you would need all of the light put out over 10 years by all the stars within 350 light-years of Earth. 2:06

Stephen Hawking Thinks There's A Way Out Of A Black Hole

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Stephen Hawking Thinks There's A Way Out Of A Black Hole

You've heard the concept that energy cannot be created or destroyed. For a long time, when physicists spoke about information, that too was thought to always live on. Einstein's theory of general relativity holds that all information is fundamentally conserved in the universe. But what about when black holes enter the picture? Until now, scientists believed black holes destroyed whatever information was sucked in. These contradicting bits of information make up the black hole information paradox. However, in 2016, famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking published a solution to this paradox in the journal Physical Review Letters. Hawking believes that information sucked into a black hole is not lost forever. More specifically, he states in his research that "soft hairs" exist in black holes, which in some ways replicate the information that enters the black hole. Hawking believes the existence of these hairs on black holes is provable, which would shake up what we know about quantum mechanics.

The Biggest Water Reservoir In The Universe Floats Around A Black Hole

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The Biggest Water Reservoir In The Universe Floats Around A Black Hole

In 2011, astronomers discovered an enormous reservoir of water vapor more than 12 billion light-years from Earth. It is by far the largest (and most distant) collection of water ever found, containing 140 trillion times the amount of water in our planet's oceans. The vapor is circling a quasar powered by a black hole, and, because of its staggering distance, proves that water vapor was present in the universe's early stages.

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from Top Media

Key Facts to Know

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    UY Scuti is thought to be the largest star ever discovered, with a radius 1,708 times that of the sun. 1:11

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    The Boötes void is 250 million light-years across, the rough equivalent of 2,500 Milky Way galaxies placed side by side. 2:55

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    The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall is the largest structure in the known universe. 5:48

What Do Black Holes Look Like?

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What Do Black Holes Look Like?

Certain black holes shine more brightly than the stars around them. In fact, black holes can be some of the brightest objects in their part of the galaxy. This seems counterintuitive, given that nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole. But what's shining is not the "hole" itself, which is invisible to the human eye, but the matter spiraling around it in what's called the accretion disk. This disk is made of the gas and dust that the black hole is attracting with its gravitational pull. Once ensnared, this material tries to orbit the hole, and parts of it that are closer to the event horizon are subject to higher gravitational forces. The resulting friction causes the material to heat up, sometimes to millions of degrees Kelvin, and to glow with an extreme brightness that is recognizable to astronomers.

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Key Facts to Know

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    At the heart of a black hole is the singularity, a region of highly compressed matter. 1:44

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    Light inside the event horizon of a black hole cannot escape. 2:47

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    Excess gas, dust, and material gather around black holes in disks that heat up and glow. 3:34

If You Had A Black Hole The Size Of A Nickel...

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If You Had A Black Hole The Size Of A Nickel...

A black hole with the same diameter as a nickel would slightly beat out Earth's mass of around 13 x 10^24 lbs (6 x 10^24 kg). Assuming it appeared in your pocket or wallet, its pull would impact everything from the entire planet to, potentially, objects in the Asteroid Belt. Even a black hole with the mass (not the diameter) of a nickel would have far-reaching effects. Though the black hole would be far, far smaller than an atom, it would release more energy than an atomic bomb as it radiated its mass away.

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Key Facts to Know

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    A black hole with the mass of a nickel would cause an explosion three times bigger than both atomic bombs combined. 0:42

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    A black hole as wide as a nickel would have slightly more mass than the Earth. 1:02

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    A black hole with the radius of a nickel would destroy the Earth and draw the moon into an elliptical orbit. 1:58