Monster of the Milky Way
Birth of a Black Hole
Launch slide show

Birth of a Black Hole

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.—Peter Tyson

*Note: 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:

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© | Created September 2006