In astronomy, an area in space formed by a collapsed massive star into which matter has contracted so that it vanishes except for an intense gravitational effect.
This gravity is so powerful that not even light can escape from it (the escape velocity exceeds the velocity of light), making impossible to see a black hole directly; like their name says, they are black, and exist in the universe in large numbers.
The material inside a black hole is concentrated into a singularity: a single point of infinitely high density where space and time are infinitely distorted. Distant objects can escape from a black holes gravitational pull, but objects inside the so-called event horizon, the surface of the region surrounding the black hole where gravity is inescapable, inevitably fall toward the center. Such objects would have to move faster than light to escape, which is impossible according to the laws of physics.
Two types of black holes are found in the universe: stellar-mass black holes and super-massive black holes. They are characterized by different masses and formation mechanisms.
Stellar-mass black holes form when a heavy star collapses under its own weight in a supernova explosion. This happens after the nuclear fuel, which makes the star shine for millions of years, is exhausted.
Super-massive black holes are found in the centers of galaxies that contain billions of stars. They may exist in most galaxies and probably formed at the same time as the galaxies themselves.
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