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Space and Physics

NASA Is Celebrating A Very Different Type Of "Black" Friday Today

author

Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

clockNov 24 2017, 15:52 UTC

NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Most of you are probably snapping up deals in Black Friday sales today. But we've got something even better – Black Hole Friday!

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Yes, today NASA is celebrating its fifth annual Black Hole Friday, where instead of subjecting you to endless shopping deals, it's treating you to a whole host of facts about black holes.

Why? Who knows, aside from the name. It is kinda fun, though. Black holes are pretty awesome, so who doesn't want to talk about them?

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"A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape," NASA explained.

"The strong gravity occurs because matter has been pressed into a tiny space. This compression can take place at the end of a star's life. Some black holes are a result of dying stars."

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Neat. What else have you got?

Well, black holes come in various different sizes, ranging from a single atom (with the mass of a mountain) to supermassive black holes, which are as wide as the Solar System and have the mass of a million Suns.

"Scientists think the smallest black holes formed when the universe began," said NASA.

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"Stellar black holes are made when the center of a very big star falls upon itself, or collapses. When this happens, it causes a supernova. A supernova is an exploding star that blasts part of the star into space. Scientists think supermassive black holes were made at the same time as the galaxy they are in."

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NASA also took the time to point at a pretty awesome discovery from 2002, when two supermassive black holes were seen on a collision course in the heart of a distant galaxy.

Found in the galaxy NGC 6240 400 million light-years away, the two black holes were seen surrounded by superheated discs of material. They're currently 3,000 light-years apart, but in a few hundred million years they will merge, producing a noticeable burst of gravitational waves.

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So there you go, some black hole facts to brighten your day. Now get back to scouring the internet for deals and spending your money.


Space and Physics
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  • black hole,

  • nasa,

  • black friday,

  • friday