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Black Holes

Imagine this!

A black hole is nothing more than the extreme limit of gravity. It's a very large collection of matter taking up a very small space.

Think of it this way. Einstein showed us that all matter curves space, right? Well, because it's so hard to visualize this curvature (because space-time occupies the accursed 4th dimension with width, height, length, and time) scientists have come up with as easy way to think about it.

Imagine space as being on 2 dimensional... like a piece of paper or a sheet of plastic. Then, with nothing in it, the space would be flat, like this:

Space-Time Image

Try this!

Look at the images below of objects in our Universe positioned in space-time. Choose the image that nest represents the result of a) our Earth, b) the Sun, c) a white dwarf, d) a neutron star, and e) a black hole as it would appear making a "dent" in space-time.

second deepest dent

second smallest dent

medium dent

smallest dent

deepest dent

This activity was developed by Jacqueline Slay, Largo High School, Largo, MD

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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