“They had discovered one could grow as hungry for light as for food.” -Stephen King

Black holes are an endlessly fascinating topic to learn and speculate about. We’ve talked about the largest ones in the Universe, but have you ever wondered about the other side of that coin: what about the smallest?

Illustration credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss, via http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2012/igr/.

Illustration credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss, via http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2012/igr/.

As it turns out, although there’s one main major way to create black holes, it isn’t the only one. A number of theoretical options ought to make it possible to have a black hole that’s even smaller than the smallest one we’ve ever discovered, and some of them really ought to be out there! We just need to go and find them.

Image credit: NASA / Albert Einstein Institute / Zuse Institute Berlin / M. Koppitz and L. Rezzolla.

Image credit: NASA / Albert Einstein Institute / Zuse Institute Berlin / M. Koppitz and L. Rezzolla.

Go read the whole, fascinating story!

Comments

  1. #1 Pavel
    June 26, 2014

    I think we have to wait for the small black holes a bit longer then the 10^68 years. It’s because the black holes are eating the an interstelalr matter and the mass loss caused by the Hawking radiation is compensated by eating 1 proton in 1 trillion years (if I’ve calculated it well for black hole of mass of about 3 sun masses). How long it would take till the Universe will be so empty, that a black hole doesn’t meet single proton in trillion of years?

  2. #2 Pa Deuce
    June 26, 2014

    Will you knock off the stupid exclamation points? It is terribly distracting.

  3. #3 Omega Centauri
    June 26, 2014

    Isn’t there a competition between a BH evaporating thermal energy, and it absorbing microwave background energy? The radiative energy of the BH must be greater than the microwave background in order to lose mass? IIRC the “temperature” of the hawking radiation is very small, so the universe would have to get very old/cold, before BHs can start losing mass.

    Some theories have an intermediate state between a BH and neutron star, a “quark” star. It is even proposed that heavy enough NS collapse into quark stars creating a quark-nova.