Black holes are fascinating objects, even if we don't ever want to get close to one because too close (called the event horizon) and you get sucked in never to return.
In late March 2011, NASA's Swift satellite alerted astronomers to intense and unusual high-energy flares from a new source in the constellation Draco. They soon realized that the source, which is now known as Swift J1644+57, was the result of a truly extraordinary event -- the awakening of a distant galaxy's dormant black hole as it shredded and consumed a star. The galaxy is so far away that the radiation from the blast has traveled 3.9 billion years before reaching Earth.
Since then NASA has produced a computer simulation of what this event might have looked like up close. The video shows a star moving through space getting sucked into a black hole. In the case of Swift J1644+57 one of the polar jets just happened to be pointed at Earth and is still blasting x-rays at us! The process is shown graphically and explained here. But first watch the video below:
NASA simulation of a star vanishing into a black hole
Black Holes Don't Have To Be Huge
Most discussions about black holes measure them in solar masses in reference to astronomical objects like the giant black hole that is supposed to be at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. But black holes can be small too, that is small in mass and event horizon radius anyway, all black holes themselves are considered to be mathematical points with no volume called singularities. There has been concern expressed in scientific circles that the energies produced by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN might be enough to produce very small black holes, microsingularities if you will, by the highly energetic collisions of two protons. The math says it might be possible. Some physicists worry that a black hole created at CERN would fall to the center of the earth and consume it, but Steven Hawking says not to worry, any microsingularities created at CERN's high energies would be so 'hot' that energy losses by 'Hawking Radiation' would drain all the energy out of any such microsingularities formed before they could do any harm. Interesting stuff. So far no microsingularities have been reported at CERN, but it may be some time before they operate at full capacity because they had an explosion when they cranked it up the first time and they want to ramp up real slowly so it doesn't happen again.
There is an Internet legend/hoax/story that nobody knows yet if it is completely true or not about a purported time traveler named John Titor who said when he came to us in 2000 to early 2001 that he was a soldier from the year 2036, using a time machine that worked through the manipulation and interaction of two microsingularities housed inside a device the size of a good sized toolbox. Of course anyone on the Internet can make any claims they want but one of the things that set Mr. Titor apart from the beginning was his very detailed explanation including diagrams from the operator's manual of how his time travel device worked. The mathematics have already been worked out by a scientist named Frank Tipler said Mr. Titor, and indeed they have. There are some serious scientists who think it might even work.
John Titor said he didn't care if anyone believed him, it didn't matter because (he said) we live in a multiverse which is constantly spinning off new universes so that everything that can happen, somewhere does. And the way his machine worked it was also capable of moving between universes in the larger multiverse, not only in time. He didn't think much of our time he said because we're complacently allowing nuclear weapons to proliferate in a world becoming increasingly polarized and dangerous, and there is global nuclear war in 2015. He said this in 2000-2001. He also alluded to weapons of destruction not being found in Iraq, and that was before 9/11 and before anyone was talking about invading the country. But he also said the United States would be in a kind of protracted civil war by 2004-2005 which hasn't happened, and he said the 2008 Olympics in China wouldn't happen due to terrorist threats, but they did. So he predicted some things right and some things wrong but in the context of multiverse theory this would be true for many predictions any time traveler might make so it doesn't debunk his story because he got so many things spot on. Like how he said when microsingularities were first going to be produced at CERN they would cause explosions and the scientists wouldn't understand exactly why at first. So it's an interesting read at johntitor.strategicbrains.com.