John Michell (1783) and Pierre-Simon Laplace (1796) were the first people to propose the concept of “dark stars” or object which, if compressed into a sufficiently small size, would have an escape velocity which exceeded even the speed of light. Later, the term “frozen star” was used to describe the last phase of a star’s gravitational collapse, when light unable to escape from its surface would make the star appear frozen in time to an observer. In the 20th century, John Wheeler eventually coined the phrase “black hole” as the object would absorbs all the light that hits it while reflecting nothing back.
Department of Astrophysics,
IMAPP, Radboud University,
P.O. Box 9010,
6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP),
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR),
Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121