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Birth of a Black Hole

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 10.31.06
  • NOVA

Black holes, like the rest of us, are born from stars. While the elements that make up our bodies and everything else on Earth originated in exploding stars, black holes arise after massive stars burn up all their nuclear fuel, explode in a supernova, and collapse to an unimaginably dense point called a singularity. In this slide show, follow the progression of events from old, dying star to newborn black hole.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

In this slide show, see how a dying star is reborn as a black hole.

This feature concerns black holes bearing a mass about that of our sun. Astrophysicists remain unclear about how black holes with far greater mass, including supermassive black holes like the one thought to lie at the center of our galaxy, come into being. For more information, see the following NASA Web page: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/010509a.html

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© Denver Museum of Nature & Science/Andrew Hamilton, University of Colorado

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