Black holes: what we think we know, we don’t


It took Albert Einstein 10 years to find the equations of general relativity, but German astrophysicist Karl Schwarzschild only needed a few months to solve them. Schwarzschild’s solution describes the gravity of an isolated, spherical and unchanging object — the enigmatic black hole — but it was not understood for many years. Black holes helped to explain new astronomical discoveries, becoming essential ingredients of astrophysics. Science regarded black holes as abstractions until the 1960s. The recent experimental discovery of gravitational waves has changed our understanding of what black holes are. In 2016, the LIGO-Virgo collaboration detected gravitational waves generated by…

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