What you can't see in this photo? Galaxy 4889’s massive black hole.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

A black hole had been "feasting" on its region's "cosmic cuisine" (NASA's words, not mine). This is what that insatiable black hole looks like.


Yes, that's just a black box. Because black holes are invisible, remember? (OK, I'll cut it out.)

This particular black hole — which is no longer dining on space matter and is instead resting comfortably in a food coma — is seriously enormous ... even by huge things in space standards.

This supermassive black hole in galaxy NGC 4889 is one of the largest NASA has ever discovered.

NASA originally spotted the black hole — which is a whopping 21 billion times the mass of our sun— in 2011.

The Hubble Space Telescope, however, just released an image of NGC 4889 hanging out roughly 300 million light-years away — the brightest dot in the center of the pic below. And even though you can't see the actual black hole within in (remember: invisible), the image is bringing a renewed interest in the galaxy's gargantuan gravitational center.

Photo by NASA & ESA.

To put this black hole's mass into perspective, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way (the galaxy we're spinning around in this very moment) has a mass about 4 million times our sun's. That's right — NGC 4889's black hole has a mass more than 5,000 times greater than our galaxy's black hole.

How do we know for sure how big it is if we can't see it? A very smart person who knows a lot about space noted on Hubble's website that astronomers can estimate the mass of black holes by measuring the velocity of stars moving around a galaxy's center — sort of like how you can't see the wind, but you can tell how hard it's blowing by seeing its effects on Donald Trump's hair.

Learning about this huge black hole made me realize two things: 1. I am terrified of black holes, and 2. I know very little about them.

So I decided to do some digging. And let me tell you — black holes are fascinating. Here are three facts that blew me away (or sucked me in?).

1. The tiniest black holes can be about the size of an atom ... but can have the mass of a f***ing mountain.

Black holes are like people — they come in all sizes.

An artist illustration of a quasar, or feeding black hole, eating up the space matter surrounding it. Image by NASA/ESAvia Getty Images.

There are three different kinds of black holes, mass-wise: primordial, stellar, and supermassive. The latter is the largest, with masses greater than 1 million of our suns. Evidence suggests they're at the center of every large galaxy.

Stellars (the Average Joes of black holes, if you will) are everywhere, relatively speaking — there could even be dozens floating around our very own Milky Way. These form after very big stars collapse, and they have masses up to 20 times greater than our sun.

Primordial black holes — the little guys of the group that formed in the early universe — can be as small as an atom but have the mass of a mountain. (Because science.)

2. Black holes are terrifying, but no — we shouldn't fear getting sucked into one.

Despite how bewilderingly scary the thought of one can be — their very definition hinges on the fact their gravity is so strong that not even light can escape — there are no black holes large enough to threaten Earth's existence anywhere nearby.

And as NASA points out, "black holes do not wander around the universe, randomly swallowing worlds." (Thank God.)

Bright flares are seen near Sagittarius A* — the black hole in the center of our own Milky Way galaxy — in 2003. Photo by NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K.Baganoff/Getty Images.

We should maybe focus on more reasonable threats facing our very existence as a species, like, say, climate change? (Just a thought.)

3. Black holes can collide. And we just learned that we can hear it happening — even a billion light-years away.

It turns out, Alert Einstein was right this whole time.

Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

Just this month, scientists from across the globe published a report that helps prove the last leg of Einstein's theory of relatively, which had to do with gravitational waves — "the ripples in the fabric of space-time," as The New York Times defined them (try wrapping your head around that).

Back in September 2015, scientists at the LIGO Scientific Collaboration detected a "chirp" using their antennas in Washington state and Louisiana. That chirp was the stretching and compressing of space — gravitational waves hitting Earth's surface.

So what do these waves have to do with black holes? Well, black holes created them.

Two stellar black holes had merged about a billion light-years away. This sent gravitational waves throughout the universe, distorting space-time as they rippled through. So, yes — two black holes that fused in one-fifth of an Earth second a billion years ago led to what could be "one of the major breakthroughs" in modern physics on Earth in 2016.


Do you feel like a black hole expert now?

OK, so maybe not an expert, but at least a little smarter when it comes to space stuff?

Black holes can be super-small and supermassive. They're completely horrifying by default but actually pose no real threat. And, as of just this month, they helped back up the most questionable aspect of Einstein's theory of relatively.

Bottom line: Black holes are a lot of things, starting with insanely cool.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."