What is the collective noun for black holes? While this question may give you potentially traumatising flashbacks from your school years and associated grammar lessons, there is no right answer. At least not yet. With an increasingly greater number of them being detected in recent years, astronomers are looking for a good collective noun. And the good folks on Twitter have an abundance of suggestions.
"We have discovered many black holes, but what do you call a collection of black holes?" asked the official handle of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration recently, sharing an article on the same. The New York Times report notes that the question had become a Twitter favourite during what NASA has begun dubbing black hole week. Indeed, a quick search of the social media platform shows hundreds of tweets tagged with "#BlackHolesCollectiveNoun" and proffering some very unusual suggestions.
While some wanted to call it a 'mosh pit of black holes', others were convinced that the word we were looking for is a "disaster". The lengthy list of suggestions also include committee, conforation, magic,
Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, what exactly is a black hole? To go by NASA's explanation, a black hole is an astronomical object with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it. "A black hole’s “surface,” called its event horizon, defines the boundary where the velocity needed to escape exceeds the speed of light, which is the speed limit of the cosmos. Matter and radiation fall in, but they can’t get out," NASA's website adds.
Keeping that in mind, take a look at some of the suggestions: