The Formation of Stellar Mass Black Holes
Most beleive that a black hole is the result of a collapsed star. However, did you know that not all black holes come from a star? Those that do actually have a special name – the stellar black hole. But what does the formation of a stellar mass black hole consist of?
When a massive star collapses due to powerful gravitational forces, a stellar black hole is formed. What is considered a massive star? Generally, this would be a star that is larger than 20 solar masses, or 20 times larger than our own Sun.
All stars collapse – this is part of the life cycle of a star as its energy is depleted. Smaller stars, those that have a mass of under 20 solar masses, typically turn into a more condensed star upon collapse, such as a white dwarf star. However, the collapse of larger stars is much more intense, and this collapse actually results in a black hole.
While it may seem as though a stellar black hole would be the largest black holes, there is observational proof that other types of black holes exist that are much larger than a stellar mass black hole. They are supermassive black holes and intermediate-mass black holes. However, discussion of these types of black holes will come in future posts.