Mental Floss

Become a Black Hole Expert in Just 5 Minutes

Caitlin Schneider

If you're like most Americans, your understanding of black holes is probably a bit like...well, a black hole. Remedy your limited grasp with this primer from Kurzgesagt (which translates to “in a nutshell” in German). In a little over five minutes, the delightfully animated video explains what black holes are, how they are formed, what lurks inside, and how they behave.

As it goes with dark matters, it’s as much about what we don’t know as what we do. The video even tackles the common misconception that black holes suck things up like a vacuum cleaner, along with what would happen if you ever happened to fall into one (spoiler: you’d die). And if you’re looking to impress everyone at the next trivia night, the clip is also packed with plenty of interesting facts—like, the biggest black hole we know of, S5 0014+81, is a whopping 40 billion times the mass of our sun.