Black Holes - An essential component of our universe

Black holes provide an important tool for probing and testing the fundamental laws of the universe.

Black holes

All objects exert an attractive gravitational force which depends on their mass. 

Now, imagine an object with a very large mass which is concentrated into such a small volume that the gravitational field generated is powerful enough to prevent anything from escaping its clutches – even light. 

This bizarre concept intrigues everyone, in particular physicists who theorise about the nature of matter, space and time, and astrophysicists who look for real black holes out in space. 

Their study brings together the big ideas in fundamental science: Einstein’s theory of gravity – general relativity; the theory of the very small – quantum mechanics; and the origin and evolution of the universe – cosmology. 

In recent years scientists have sought the answers to questions such as does a black hole have a temperature? What exactly happens when an object falls into a black hole? How many black holes are there in our galaxy? What is the role of black holes in galaxy evolution? 

This booklet describes recent, remarkable discoveries made about black holes.