Supermassive Black Holes

Supermassive Black Holes

2000, Science  -   58 Comments
Ratings: 8.43/10 from 79 users.

Supermassive Black HolesIn June 2000, astronomers made an extraordinary discovery. One that promises to solve one of the biggest problems in cosmology – how and why galaxies are created. Incredibly, the answer involves the most weird, destructive and terrifying objects in the Universe – supermassive black holes. Scientists are beginning to believe that these forces of pure destruction actually help trigger the birth of galaxies and therefore are at the heart of the creation of stars, planets and all life.

Exactly how our galaxy was created has mystified astronomers and physicists for years. Although there have been many theories, there’s little evidence to explain how the gas in the early Universe condensed to form the galaxy we see today. Now scientists realise they’ve been missing a vital ingredient – a supermassive black hole. The immense gravity of a giant black hole might trigger the gas to collapse in the first place. By churning up the gas around it, a giant black hole would trigger the birth of stars, planets and life itself. Despite being the most destructive thing in the Universe, scientists now think our supermassive black hole could be crucial in creating the galaxy as we know it.

The supermassive black hole in our own galaxy may be the reason we exist, but recent work suggests it may also be our end. At present Earth is so far away from the black hole that it can’t affect us, but physicist John Dubinski thinks all that could change. In January 2000 he graphically simulated the final fate of our galaxy. In 3 billion years we will collide with the next door galaxy, Andromeda. The resulting apocalypse will force the Earth and our Solar System out of orbit. Dubinski has calculated a worrying 50:50 chance that we’ll be sent hurtling in towards the black hole at the centre of this maelstrom. This would be fatal for the Earth.

More great documentaries

58 Comments / User Reviews

  1. peter

    We know that a giant star transforms into a black hole,so based on that truth,a giant star was at every centre of every galaxy,and thru its actions and transformation it became what we have there now,a black hole.What the black hole was and how it behaved unto the formation of each of the galaxys,is not fully understood as it is not there for us to observe now.The stars at the centre of a galaxy at the time of there existence would not be like anything we can observe today as it was a seed that creates galaxys,and is probably a different object to anything in our observable universe.Unfortunately we are somewhere inbetween the beginning and probably the end.And as much as we try to theorise based on what we know,we cant know this,because its on another level of existence,that must be observed to understand its incredible,galaxy and element forming dynamic.Im not saying what it was composed of,but all the elements of the universe would have to be contained within it.Incredible it would be.And like nothing we have ever seen.

  2. DustUp

    Einstein has been proven wrong as has been many. Just because some scientist has a theory and presents it doesn't mean a whole lot if you know the rest of the story or a lot more of it and how they miss the mark. Watch the docu "The Principle"(not sure if available on here, saw it elsewhere, but I highly reco it) concerning the Copernican view of the Universe that we all were wrongly taught. They touch on more than one view, present their findings, discuss with other scientists, even those that cannot let go of their nonsense but admit holes in their prior theories. Are black holes truly necessary? Are you sure?

    1. Myaname

      2019 proved it right! :)

    2. Albert Einstein

      This comment aged poorly

  3. Roger

    I should add, one of the ppl who appear in the doco, Martin Rees, was actually one of the theorists of the 74 SBH. So probably none of this surprised him.
    Though at the time, I doubt many ppl actually believed in black holes-even tho they'd been predicted by none other than Einstein.

  4. Roger

    The physicists/astronomers in this doc act surprised at the discovery of the SBH at the center of Andromeda. But from what I've read, our own Milky Way's SBH, Sag A*, was discovered way back in 1974.
    Which strikes me as odd. From this doc, I guess I made the mistake of assuming these scientists didn't realize until recently that the Milky Way even has a black hole in its center.
    How on earth did the 1974 guys even find a SBH without all the newfangled telescopes that we have today?
    Then again, the source is Wikipedia so....who knows.

  5. Ginamarie t.

    Connect the dots people! It's like yin yang this doc does say it appears that all galaxies have black holes relatively proportioned to the size of each galaxy. I was not a math expert in school but I have had a deep passion for Astro physics since a very young age. It makes sense to come to understand that ALL galaxies have these black holes . Think of it like this the yin is the matter and the yang is the energy and gravity it takes to hold in place . It can even relate to newtons law to every action is a OPPOSIT REACTION. A body that stays in motion tends to STAY IN MOTION.. I'm paraphrasing this but I'm sure someone gets what I mean. If we could connect all the matter into the web of space and time then those black holes would simply be the catacombs of the matter that exists in each galaxy and each black hole in each galaxy could explain the very essence of how gravity, matter and the energy of each and every mass can continue and coexist in the web of our universe

  6. Dr f

    Graphics r great need more research

  7. Dr d

    New theorem as mass cannot be destroyed black holes may lead to multiverse exchanges .mass sucked by 1 black hole of universe prime = mass given by another black hole of multiverse parade or mass emitted by white hole of. Universe prime

  8. Matthew Holder

    I don't understand the universe but I can recognize a supermassive a**hole as Jonno when I read one!!!

  9. Dave

    I cant wrap my head around dust "floating" in a vacuum. And "explosions" in a vacuum.

  10. eddy

    lol.."the only one who understands" in awe of yourself, eh?

    *the music is from disney's Black can u dis that? great doc !!

  11. Robert

    Need more data.

  12. SolDeus

    The 3 billion year collision will not matter for earth. The sun will have gotten too hot to support life in less than 2 billion years.

  13. Aten1980

    when a galaxy is born, i believe it begins as an enormous cloud of gases..those gases are more than likely warmer than surrounding space, and thus movement within the cloud will begin..i believe that the movement within the cloud creates great pressure at the heart of the cloud and so begins a black hole..of course it's just a theory..

    1. bob thebuilder

      nah man a black hole forms when a star runs out of gas, but yea all stars start out as a nebula (a cloud of gas), it was a good theory tho :)

    2. Niklas Lundgren

      Well he's not that far off. It's possible if not likely that during the early stages of a development of a galaxy there's an "enormous cloud of gases" that born various stars. Some of them in the rich density of gas will form a supermassive star which goes hypernova then after this the leftover gas and exploding gas might form a rotating disk of gas around the new born black hole. A galaxy is born.

  14. David

    Great stuff. Gotta watch the others now

  15. Ken Davis

    It is impossible to get to the heart of creation seeing that the universe was created supernaturally.

    1. Achems_Razor

      @Ken Davis:

      How so, was the universe created supernaturally?

    2. K Davis

      God spoke and it was done. That's what the evidence points to.

    3. over the edge

      can you show me this evidence?

    4. K Davis

      It's really simple. The universe began with chaos. The aftermath was organized universe with order, balanced systems, variety of marvels, artistic beauty, and self-functioning replicating living cells with built-in microprocessing.

    5. over the edge

      You and I seem to have a different definition of evidence. While not my strong suit "The universe began with chaos." doesn't agree with the models and evidence presented by those educated in the relevant fields. Again do you have any actual evidence?

    6. K Davis

      What model? When the Big Bang occurred, like any explosion, what more could it be than chaos? You chose to blind yourself to my short list of evidence let alone volumes beyond that. Your loss.

    7. over the edge

      the models do not call for an "explosion" rather an "expansion". Two different things. as of yet even if you are right (and you are not). You have not provided any evidence for."God spoke and it was done".

    8. K Davis

      What expands that did not initially explode? Your comments are contradictory - "even if you are right and you are not." Huh. Whatever models you follow have no appeal with common sense.

    9. over the edge

      What models i follow are irrelevant. as i do not claim to know how the universe started. You on the other hand did make a claim and other than a false dichotomy you have provided absolutely no proof for your claim. as for "What expands that did not initially explode" really? how about a balloon? Or maybe most things when heated?

    10. K Davis

      If the expansion of the universe began without an explosion, then it wouldn't be called the Big Bang. It's called that because the initial events were rapid enough to count as an explosion.

      Proof is not necessary, but only evidence beyond reasonable doubt which is good enough for the court room. Unfortunate for those demanding proof; they will never get anywhere in the realm of faith unto salvation because they limit themselves to physical reality. The supernatural is beyond the physical and so they can never can reach it. But the supernatural does have evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

    11. over the edge

      "the big bang" is a catchy phrase that stuck. instead of reaching a conclusion from the name of a theory.Why not reach your conclusions on what the theory actually claims?

      Okay please present me with the "evidence beyond reasonable doubt". When craationism went to court most recently it lost. Now again state your evidence for "God spoke and it was done". And again even if you prove every other explanation wrong that doesn't mean you win by default. So where is this "positive" evidence for your claim

    12. K Davis

      Jesus spoke and the dead rose to life, one dead for 4 days; Jesus spoke arms and legs on people missing them; He spoke spinal cord restoration and the paralyzed walked; He spoke new eyes for the blind the new ears for the deaf; He spoke food for 5000 from a few loaves and fishes; he spoke new skin for lepers. Scores of Old Testament Scriptures predicted details of Jesus life and confirmed the eternal divinity of Jesus identifying Him also as Creator, speaking the cosmos out of nothing. No other book compares with the Bibles prediction accuracy. That is documented evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

    13. over the edge

      Yay more claims sans evidence. you refer to a book written by unknown authors long after the claimed events. A book that contradicts itself, logic and history. Now we are going off topic here so i will keep it simple and ask for the last time please provide this claimed evidence for "God spoke and it was done". until you do i will not be responding further. I am immune to your burden shifting. false dichotomies, red herrings and other diversion tactics

    14. K Davis

      You won't get anywhere paroting what others say about the Bible until you study it for yourself.

    15. Curtis McGee

      lol. just lol. That's a good one dude.

    16. Niklas Lundgren

      Well we don't know because disproving any super natural is rather hard indeed. When it comes to religion we've proved religious scripts wrong many times but religious people tend to just addapt with a new version of it. In science it's impossible to disprove anything that doesn't exist so we will not be able to disprove it.

      When Galileo Galilei disproved the earth was flat and not the center of the universe he got emprisoned by the inquisition. But religion kept going and they changed the religious scripts.

      We've proved evolution but religious people just addapt to the new changes and says that "god" did it. Creationism a direct answer to that.

      If we would find life on other satelites they would probably change the scripts again.

      Religion doesn't work by reason and therefor you won't change their minds by reason.

      By following religious history and the history of science the only miracle you'll find is through science. With science we can cure sick people, we can discover space, we can understand the complexity of life, the brain and what our perspective we are bound with for being a human being.

    17. K Davis

      Who proved evolution? Nothing of the sort has ever been done. There's not even any evidence for evolution. Rather the evidence out there points to creation, the flood, and a young earth.
      Well, no one has found life anywhere else, neither will it ever be done because when God starts life on a world, He finishes it as on earth.
      You attribute the supernatural to science when you call it a miracle. Wow, here is a truely confused person.

    18. Devon

      Dude, religion was created by greedy people that could take advantage of the uneducated. And it still works. Its pretty sad that people can be soo delusional. All churches put their untaxed DONATIONS in stocks so that when one of their own gets busted for molesting children they can cover it up with money or send them to the Vatican to retire to a life of raping children. ALL RELIGION HAS MOLESTED YOUNG CHILDREN AND GIVEN FALSE HOPE TO THEIR PARENTS AND MANY OTHERS. F*CK ANYONE WHO TAKES THAT SMUT MORE SERIOSLY THAN SCIENCE. Thank you.

  16. Mantid

    Life is so amazing, the best part of it, we don't know everything.

    1. Richie Crozier

      everything? we dont know anything mate

  17. Matthew Marrinan

    At 08:26 it is demonstrated that whilst Dr. Alan Dressler has mastered the intricate workings of the exceptionally small to the thought provokingly large, he has yet to master the finer points of office car space allocation as he somehow manages to park 1.5 people in, and simultaneously block access to the space he should have originally taken.

    However, I must admit the exceptionally poor angle of the car is spectacularly offset by the thought provoking angle of the camera.

  18. JB

    Well, I loved the music, the content, the CGI, everything.

  19. Mafah

    I that the music was in Star Wars

  20. Pogue_Mahone

    The background music is from the first "Predator" movie, which makes it pretty damn awesome!

  21. bobbo

    jonno u need to get ur ass to nassa, tell them they're all idiots, get them to take ur word for everything 'for it is i, jonno. the only one who understands it all' then thrust ur fists in the air and stare at it and scream "BEHOLD" then when u hear phones ringing in the background and ppl murmuring and feel lots of eyes on u, u might snap out of it.

  22. smoov

    the doco was pretty cool! the question im left with is: if black holes created all galaxies.....where did black holes come from? oh, i thought the music was nice yo!!!

  23. Darkenrhal

    The eerie music is from Disney's 1979 movie The Black Hole. :D

  24. Nillbert Nullingsworth

    no u r the one among in the whole world who is unaware of the possibilities of a black hole which is deeply but invisibly dependent on supporting each and every life,matter,antimatter the cosmos

    But i don't suppose u understand it until the reign of those astounding discovery make up human minds more thirsty to discover more about the cosmos

  25. Ramus

    The music is off putting, it just doesnt stop. And I noticed soundtracks from Predator, Aliens and Star Trek.

  26. Freems

    I'm fairly certain that a part of the Predator sound track was played during this documentary

  27. Dave

    i dont think the music is important as personally i was too engrossed by the content.

    My only thought is that surely we are just as screwed if thrown off into the emptiness of space?

  28. JP

    I agree that the music is horribly off-putting.

  29. Eric

    all I could think of was the Predator soundtrack when I watched this doc. Lol

  30. trainwreck

    f*** that music, omg

    great content though

  31. Matt

    A fascinating subject totally wrecked by the accompaning music. Pity, the music was so distracting that I simply could not watch the documentary and had to give up.

  32. Jonno

    How can there NOT be a black hole at the center of each and every galaxy? Do astronomers not understand "mass" and "gravity", and understand the implications of mass and gravity? Am I the only one who understands the Universe? I am in awe.

    1. Curtis McGee

      If as you say you truly understand the universe, then yes. You are the only one that understands it. If you meant to say that you are the only one to understand at least some part of the universe in some relatively small way, then no. You are not the only one.