Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is home to billions of stars, planets and of course, black holes. As you already know, nothing in our planet or universe can live forever, which is why even the most densest and largest black holes have expiration dates.
First of all, what happens to matter that has been absorbed by these black holes? Well, when something gets warped into a black hole that is 3 times the size of the Sun, it is shredded into a myriad of smaller pieces. If that same something is absorbed by a much larger black hole, that is millions of times greater than the Sun, then it will have no difficulty in crossing its edge completely intact. This edge is also known as the event horizon which is a point of no return from the black hole.
Now that we know what happens when objects get absorbed by black holes, how do we know that these black holes have an “expiration date”. According to Stephen Hawking’s “Hawking radiation” theory, black holes can leak small particles through radiation until the black hole itself evaporates completely. The rate of this leak depends on the mass of the black hole. For example, a black hole the size of the Sun will lose particles at a very small rate making it impossible for us to detect them. In order to identify this leak, the black hole would need to be very small. Unfortunately, no one has discovered such black holes although their existence is possible in theory. Furthermore, scientists have tried recreating such miniature black holes in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), as a result helping prove Hawking’s theory.
Overall, the evaporation of black holes will take around ~10^67-10^100 years and that is possibly longer than the lifetime of our Universe, which is why we don’t need to worry about it. I think that we should be more worried about a smaller black hole reaching our Earth than larger black holes who will absorb our entire solar system because it’s very likely that we won’t notice it. After all, who’s to tell us that we’re not in a black hole right now?
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