Supermassive Black Holes | How the Universe Works


black holes

we're riveted by their destructive power

black holes are dangerous

black holes are hazards black holes are

not friendly for their environments

there's just no good ends to anything

that falls into a black hole perhaps one

of the most frightening objects in the


but what exactly are these scary objects

black holes are created when you get

enough matter in a small region of space

this happens when a massive star dies

and collapses in on itself

a supernova a black hole is the ultimate

consequence of gravity is an object that

has so much mass crushed into such a

small space that it's escape velocity

becomes greater than the speed of light

they are a one-way street

you go in nothing escapes not even light

but two black holes really deserve their

bad rap in some ways I think we setup

black holes to be more villains than

they actually are black holes suffer a

bit of a PR problem I think they're a

lot more menacing in science fiction and

popular media than they really are


there are trillions of galaxies in the

known universe and most of them have a

supermassive black hole at their center

these monsters are millions of times the

mass of our Sun their immense gravity

can send stars flying their instrumental

in choreographing the dance of stars in

their vicinity supermassive black holes

shoot out torrents of lethal radiation

and violent cosmic winds and gobble up

anything that comes close now

scientists are beginning to realize

these cosmic giants may also have a

creative side most people think of black

holes as being like giant vacuum

cleaners in space and basically

everything falls into them but that's

that's not actually the case they're

better thought of as the engines of

cosmic change although black holes are

the end states of stars they can

actually influence the formation of

stars as well in a bunch of different

ways a galaxy's job is to make stars but

uncontrolled star growth isn't healthy

too many stars can drain a galaxy's gas

supply black holes are very important it

appears that galaxy evolution is tied to

black hole evolution we don't know

exactly how yet but the marriage appears

certain one idea is that supermassive

black holes

act as cosmic control mechanisms black

holes can act like a thermostat in your

house if your house gets too hot the

thermostat will kick on the

air-conditioner and if it gets too cold

it'll kick on the heater black holes do

the same things for galaxy's

supermassive black holes regulate star

formation by pulling gas in and shooting

it back out into the galaxy when these

black holes are consuming matter they're

drawing matter into themselves but

they're also spewing stuff out basically

black holes eat like little babies very

sloppily so a lot of it but the eath

comes flying back out again the stars

the planets but most often may join

clouds of gas the black hole drags gas

and dust into an accretion disk around

it this disk spins faster and faster

magnetic energy builds up

with the accretion disk swirling around

the black hole there are also magnetic

fields that are going on the material is

moving so rapidly that the magnetic

field sort of winds up coils up and

forms the vortex like a tornado

astronomers call them Jets


these Jets propagate outward like

freight trains plowing through the

galaxy over hundreds and thousands of

light-years these are like death rays

the Jets disrupt the star-forming gas

clouds limiting excess star formation in

the main body of the galaxy but in the

very outer reaches of the galaxy they

can spark star birth things are more

gentle out there you're not as close to

the energetic heart so stars planets and

life can form out there partially

because of the material that the black

hole has moved out there so black holes

can have outsized influence on the

regions that they inhabit right around

them they can prevent the formation of

stars whereas on very very large scales

they can actually instigate the

formation of stars 2018 black holes hit

the front page

scientists discovered black holes

gobbling up gas so fast that they seemed

to be outgrowing their host galaxies it

naturally makes the question come up how

big can a black hole get now we have the

answer they can reach size triple-xl

becoming ultra massive black holes


ultra massive black holes are so cool

because it's just mind boggling that

black holes so large can exist ultra

massive black holes are very rare and

typically have masses of more than 10

billion times the mass of the Sun 10

billion solar masses that's a 10

followed by nine zeros Ultra massive

black holes are real beasts the black

hole at the center of our galaxy is 4

million solar masses imagine black holes

that are 2,500 times bigger that's what

we're talking about here


an ultra massive black hole this big

would be as wide as the solar system and

weigh as much as all the stars in the

Milky Way

they're inside galaxies that aren't a

whole lot bigger that really surprised

the hell out of everybody and in 2018

scientists discover a twenty billion

solar mass ultra massive black hole

growing faster than any other black hole

this ravenous behemoth devours the mass

of our Sun every two days

these big black holes are really good at

gobbling up other things to literally

eat anything they're monsters of the

universe this kind of for a shish eating

can have devastating consequences it

blasts so much energy and turbulence

into the galaxy that stars no longer

form and the bigger the blackhole the

faster that galaxy dies the primary

thing these ultra massive black holes do

to galaxies is they shut down all star

formation and so in that sense they kind

of kill galaxies and sold these things

could even wipe out their host galaxies

ultra massive black holes are a problem

for scientists - they might be the

fastest eaters but that doesn't explain

how they got some large

with these ultra massive black holes

these black holes that are tens of

billions of times more massive than our

Sun you can't just grow them from the

slow accretion of gas over time there's

just not enough gas and there's just not

enough time

it gives us a new mystery to solve how

do you make black holes that are just

that big there's not a clear answer so

far as to how these ultra massive black

holes were formed people wonder if

there's some other mechanism by which

you could make black holes a mechanism

so violent it also throws supermassive

black holes clean out of galaxies