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Black Holes Power Galaxies

Did you know that one type of black hole, a galactic black hole, is as big as a billion suns?

Most galaxies have tiny centers and a lot of energy. These are called active galaxies and are powered by black holes. Black holes are incredibly massive gravity wells. Powerful enough to generate the energy of the galaxy, black holes are so dense that they can swallow anything that goes near them.

Clouds of gas and material from stars surrounding the black hole are sucked into a disk shape. Black holes have a powerful gravity that squeezes this disk with extreme force to pull light in around the black hole. In fact, black holes are so massive that light cannot escape their gravity. This means that black holes bend light that travels near them.

Astronomers have discovered different kinds of black holes such as the stellar black holes, and galactic black holes, which are usually in the center of active galaxies. The activity depends on how compressed the gas is close to it, how you are looking at the disk—from the side or from above—and how the gas is compressed near the black hole.

Black holes are an interesting part of the universe. Learning about them and other parts of the universe can keep us aware of the many things happening in the vast dark skies of our universe.

[Source: Children’s Atlas of the Universe]