Are names given to black holes?
Are names given to black holes? Does the Milky Way's black hole have a name? (Note: other astronomical bodies are named; why not black holes?)
To my knowledge, we don't name black holes themselves, but rather the sources that are thought to be associated with them. The reason is a purely practical one: by definition we can't see black holes, and astronomical names are generally assigned to objects that are found observationally (at any wavelength). In almost all cases, the presence of a black hole in or near any given source is established after the source is observed. So technically, the name belongs to the source that we see, not the black hole.
Take, for example, the black hole in the Milky Way. In the 1970s, a structure that was very bright in radio emission was discovered near the center of the galaxy - it was named Sagittarius A*. Many years later, we think that Sag A* likely surrounds the Milky Way's supermassive black hole; however, the name Sag A* still refers to the radio emission (whose origin is not completely understood) rather than to the black hole itself.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Where does the name "Moon" come from?
- How did the stars get named?
- What are the names of the earth, moon, sun, and solar system?
- Where did the name 'Earth' come from?
- Who came up with the name "black hole"?
- What is happening just around the black hole in the center of the Milky Way?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 54328 times since July 30, 2004.
Last modified: July 30, 2004 4:25:18 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)