Do black holes actually suck?

We take a look at the answer to this fascinating question

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Despite the impression that science fiction movies give, black holes don’t suck! Image Credit: NASA

Despite the impression that science fiction movies give, black holes don’t suck! Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Barrie Schofield

No, black holes don’t suck. Thanks to science fiction movies, it’s quite easy to picture a black hole as a cosmic vacuum cleaner, sucking up everything and anything that gets too close to its high-gravity grasp. Suction is caused by pulling an object into a vacuum, something a black hole definitely is not. Instead, nearby gas and dust falls into them.

The pulling power of a black hole is all down to the size of the star’s core as well as the mass. Black holes form in the core of a massive star, which runs out of fuel and collapses, exploding as a supernova. As the core collapses, its gravity increases. At a mass of at least three-times that of the Sun, the gravity can get so strong that not even light can escape a black hole.

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