How many types of black hole are there?

These high-gravity objects come in more flavours than you might expect

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The heaviest of these high gravity objects - the supermassive black hole - can be found at the heart of galaxies. Image Credit: NASA

The heaviest of these high-gravity objects – the supermassive black hole – can be found at the heart of galaxies. Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Stephanie Wilkins

Black holes come in many sizes, of which we choose to break down into three main types. These three flavours of black hole are determined by their method of formation and by extension, their initial size.

The largest of these exotic objects are known as supermassive black holes, which are thought to be found at the centre of all galaxies. Although scientists aren’t completely sure of how they come to be, they believe that supermassive black holes are made as a part of galaxy formation.

Stellar black holes, on the other hand, are made when a massive star dies. These stars must have a mass greater than around 20 solar masses in order that a black hole forms.

Finally, there is the miniature black hole – these are theorised to have formed during rapid expansion after the Big Bang, are infinitesimally tiny and are thought to have a mass a little less than that of the Sun.

Answered by Zoe Baily at the National Space Centre

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