Did you know that any object with mass has the potential to become a black hole? This idea is most effectively explained with a brief discussion of what is known as a ‘Schwarzschild radius’.
When a non-rotating and electrically neutral body (a star) suffers complete gravitational collapse, it will eventually collapse to a size in which its own gravitational pull is great enough to retain light itself. This critical “size” is what is known as the Schwarzschild radius. Theoretically, ANY mass can become a black hole if it collapses to the Schwarzschild radius. Using a very simple equation, one can determine what this radius would be for any object of mass. A few theoretical examples may facilitate understanding. A mass similar to that of Mt. Everest would have a Schwarzschild radius of approx. 3.0e-13 meters, which is smaller than the size of a single atom. Planet Earth has a critical radius that is approx. the size of a peanut. If collapsed to these sizes, both objects would theoretically have an inevitable in-falling of matter and create an infinite curvature in space-time.
Photo credit: NASA
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