Gravity's Engines, By Caleb Scharf: Book review

 

This surprisingly gripping book from the director of Columbia University's Astrobiology Centre concerns "the most extraordinary and bizarre characteristics of nature".

First deduced as "dark stars" by John Michell, an 18th-century Yorkshire rector, black holes turn out to be "both varied and common", ranging from "comparatively small" to "tens of billions of times the mass of our sun."

No longer viewed as deadly oddities, black holes "play an active role in sculpting the universe". The reason we're here is our local black hole, a mere 25,000 light years away.

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