Black Holes: An Explorer’s Guide

Black holes are some of the most mysterious objects in the universe. There are billions of them out there, and they come in all sizes – but not all shapes!

They occur when stars larger than our sun fuse matter in their core at a rate that causes it to collapse into itself, warping space-time around it, pulling everything within its reach towards its center.

This process can spread stardust – the very same dust we’re made of (we’re eternally grateful to you, stars 🙏) – all over space in beautiful explosions called supernovas.

The Crab Nebula is the leftover, or remnant, of a massive star in our Milky Way that died 6,500 light-years away. Astronomers and careful observers saw the supernova in the year 1054. Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University)

In fact, any object with mass can reach enough density to collapse into itself and form a black hole. If you were to compress the Earth to the size of a small coin, it would also become a black hole.

Black holes can go from very tiny and briefly existing ones, to supermassive world destroyers. It’s believed that the centre of every galaxy is home to these supergiants, some of them hundreds of times bigger than our solar system.

They’re also some of the longest living bodies in the universe, expected to be the very last things to exist when the universe slowly dies off in 10^1092380 years (not the actual number but just trust us, it’s a really long time).

Black holes can breed destruction and fear, but they’re also capable of creating energy and awe. There is a profound balance in the fact that the brightest objects in the universe (quasars) are born from the darkest objects (black holes.

An artist’s depiction of a distant quasar. (Credit: WM Keck Observatory).

So, how do you feel about black holes? Awe inspired or scared AF?

If you want to explore more of our beautiful (and scary) Universe, get tickets today to see Brian Greene live on stage!

Brian Greene Live

Brian Greene is touring across Australia and New Zealand to explore the fascinating story of our universe, and along the way remind us of how unique, fragile and meaningful our circumstances are.

Part philosopher and part physicist, don’t expect him to get bogged down in equations – Brian’s passion spills over into discussions of free will, art, religion and ethics, which he examines through the lens of not only a scientist with 40 years experience, but also as a kid whose curiosity knows no bounds.

This event will be your reminder that the vastness of our universe cares little for human beings, so it’s up to us to take charge of our destiny.

Grab your tickets to see one of our generation’s greatest minds in full force.

The Story of our Universe

The Story of Our Universe: An Introduction to Cosmology is a four-week course covering 13.8 billion years of history.

The universe is old. Really old. If its entire history were crammed into one 24-hour day, the first humans wouldn’t arrive until 23:59!

Together we’ll explore this fascinating history. You’ll learn what the early universe was like, how stars and galaxies formed, and how black holes and dark matter work.

You’ll also learn how this story ends—a big freeze where the universe accelerates into a cold and lonely infinitude of nothingness, a big rip where the fabric of spacetime is torn apart at the seams, or something else entirely.

The course is filled with sublime photographs and vivid explanations which are guaranteed to inspire awe, even in the deepest cynic.

With instruction from one of Australia’s leading cosmologists, as well as a community of like-minded peers, you’ll finish this course with a deeper appreciation of our universe’s grandiosity.

Join us as we venture deep into spacetime.