Black holes are scary beasts — objects so massive that not even light can escape their clutches.
In 2022, we learned more about these gravitational monsters than ever before — from the first direct image of the black hole “heart” at the center of the Milky Way to one of the earliest black hole ancestors ever detected in the universe. Here are 10 massive new findings about these cosmic vacuum cleaners that won’t be sucked out of our brains anytime soon.
1. Black hole goes rogue
For the first time ever, astronomers have spotted a “rogue” black hole wandering the cosmos. Scientists have long predicted that stars between seven and 20 times the mass of the sun would eventually go supernova and then collapse into a black hole. But until now, scientists hadn’t spotted such an isolated black hole. Using data from both the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based eyes on the sky on how light bends around a black hole, astronomers finally detected a stellar-mass black hole 5,150 light-years (opens in new tab) away from Earth, in the direction of the bulge in the center of the Milky Way. This black hole is relatively lightweight, at around 7.1 solar masses.
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