Four Types of Black Holes

  • By Ana Aceves
  • Posted 01.10.18
  • NOVA

Black holes are mind-blowing. Discover the FOUR types of black holes that exist in the cosmos.

Running Time: 2:00


Four Types of Black Holes

Published January 10, 2018

Onscreen: 4 Types of Black Holes

#1 Stellar Mass Black Holes

These are the most common. They form from stars 10-20 times more massive than our Sun.

When a star dies, it collapses upon itself, sometimes creating a supernova, which blasts its outer layers into space.

If there’s enough mass left behind, gravity at the core can continue to crush it all together into a point of infinite density forming a black hole, where even light cannot escape.

#2. Supermassive Black Holes

Most have more mass than 1,000,000 Suns.

Evidence suggests they exist at the center of most galaxies.

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way is estimated to be about 93 million miles across and 4 million solar masses.

Some distant galaxies have supermassives as big as 21 BILLION times the mass of the Sun.

Scientists don’t know how they formed…or grew to be so big but it may be closely related to galaxy formation.

#3. Intermediate Black Holes

Intermediate-mass black holes may form when the oldest stars in the universe collapse…or when stars or black holes collide.

One kind of black hole exists only in theory—so far.

#4. Miniature Black Holes

These can be as wide as an atomic particle…but have the same mass as Mt. Everest.

They may have formed soon after the Big Bang, making them about 13.7 billion years old.

Scientists have a lot to learn…but they have plenty of time. The number and size of black holes will only go up. And some day, they may be all that’s left of the cosmos.



Digital Producer
Ana Aceves
Written, Produced and Directed by
Rushmore DeNooyer
Executive Producer
Chris Schmidt
Ryan Shepheard
Rob Kirwan


Carsten Nebel via Wikimedia Commons / ESA / NASA / Shutterstock



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