After reading this entire blog post, next time when someone asks you what’s the weirdest thing in this universe?
this will be your answer – there exists an unknown entity in the centre of our Milkyway galaxy which has a mass around 50 billion times than that of our sun and has a radius less than that of our solar system!
How weird is that?
Yes, I was talking about the supermassive black holes which lie at the centre of every galaxy. Black holes and their properties have always made scientists scratch their heads since the prediction of the first black hole by Karl Schwarzschild in 1916.
Today in this blog post, we’ll be going through the answers of a few intriguing questions that would arise in the curious minds of every normal human being when they hear the term “black hole.”
Note – you don’t need to have any sorts of scientific background to understand the content of this post. All questions are explained with facts and reasoning which surely would arouse curiosity into every young mind.
So without further adieu, let’s dive right into the world of black holes.
1 – what are black holes and how are they formed?
Black holes in simple terms are the region in space of high mass and density closely packed into a comparatively smaller area.
This means, if there’s a black hole of the mass of Earth existing in space, then the total size of the black hole would be so small that it would fit in your palm. Cool, isn’t it?
When giant, massive stars across the universe are at the end stage of their lives, they become cooler and finally emits the whole energy and elements into space by means of a huge bright burst known as a supernova. The remnants of the remaining elements of the star force itself to push inwards its own mass to a highly denser region of strong gravitational pull. This region of high density and gravity is known as a black hole.
If the size of the black hole is at least 3 times the mass of the sun, then it would possess an incredibly higher gravitational pull such that, even light wouldn’t escape it’s strong field and is sucked into the inner region (singularity) of the black hole.
No matter how small a black is at the beginning, they eventually grow bigger by consuming dust from stars, space particles, and other black holes. It doesn’t mean that they roam around the universe swallowing everything.
Black holes obey the laws of gravity like any other object. It doesn’t exert a gravitational pull on anything unless it enters its gravitational field or event horizon. For eg – if we replace the sun with a black hole of the same size as of the sun, the earth along with all the other planets would keep orbiting the black holes since the mass of the sun and black hole are the same.
Interesting fact – the brightest object in the universe known as a quasar, is an extremely luminous active galactic nucleus, in which a supermassive black hole with mass ranging from billions to trillions of times the mass of the sun is surrounded by a gaseous ring. The quasar was formed just around 1 billion years after the big bang. It means, that the supermassive black hole, which powers the quasar brightness, was formed millions of years before that. Scientists still have no idea how such a giant black hole was formed within a short span after the origin of the universe.
Well, the universe is under no obligation to make sense to us. 🙂
2 – where do you go if you fall into a black hole?
Now that’s an interesting question. The answer to this question can be a little strange to a normie and wouldn’t probably make sense. But this is a fact.
For example – you and your friend Maggy visit the black hole. You wanted to enter into the black hole. So maggie stays outside the event horizon or gravitational field of the black hole and you approach towards the outer event horizon.
Now the interesting part is, as you enter into the black hole, reality splits into two. For Maggy who watches over you from outside, as you move through the event horizon, your speed is decreasing gradually and a huge wave of heat emissions begins to engulf you and by the time you reach the surface of the black hole, you’d be frozen to a standstill position. This is what maggie sees from the outside. That’s one side of the story.
Now from your side, you are totally fine, except the fact that you are moving at the speed of light towards the black hole. And when you are inside the black hole, where the laws of physics don’t apply, you could see everything that already got sucked into the black hole, in front of you and you could see all that would fall into the black hole, in the future, behind you.
Due to the strong gravitational pull, space-time is curvier inside the black hole, which means you would keep falling into the black hole until you reach the singularity where space-time curvature becomes infinite.
There are 2 possibilities from here. In the first case, every cell in your body including your brain cells would be crushed into subatomic particles by the strong gravitational force once you reach the singularity, and you die. In the second case, you’d overcome the infinitely dense, singular point and would be transported to a parallel or different universe, from where you’ll never be able to return.
Fun fact: even if you happen to visit a black hole and you felt like jumping into it. Please choose a supermassive black hole instead of a stellar one. Because in a stellar black hole, the matter is so densely packed into a smaller area such that, the gravity is overwhelmingly high everywhere so that you’d stretched and squeezed at the same time until you become subatomic particles. It’s like a toothpaste coming out of a tube. But in the case of a supermassive black hole, the area is comparatively larger and so, you would experience uniform gravity throughout and could have a smooth journey towards the singularity. 🙂
3 – can you live inside a black hole?
We are living inside a black hole.
Well, out of all the weird, bizarre, strange theories we have about black holes and origin of the universe, this one makes an exception by being more logical than the others.
To be more specific, from the 2nd question regarding “inside of a black hole”, we talked about multiple realities when you cross the event horizon and moves towards the singularity. So in the second reality wherein you don’t get frozen at the event horizon and moves normally towards the singularity.
So in the first case wherein, you would die due to the strong forces that crush you down to subatomic particle, let’s consider that case here. So you eventually die and your body is broken down into subatomic particles. Let’s keep it that way.
Have anyone of you heard of the term “Planck length.”?
If yes, you can call yourself a physics lover and for those who don’t know, the smallest possible size for anything in the universe is the Planck length. No object or particle could have a size that is smaller than the plack length.
So, as elements of your body break down into subatomic particles, eventually they’ll reach the size of Planck length after which no more reduction is possible. The forces of gravity won’t have effects on the particles anymore. It stays as it is. Even though these particles don’t reduce in size anymore, the forces of gravity still act on them.
So at a point when the particle could no longer take the external force along with the highly denser internal elements, it releases all its energy and elements with an overwhelming force, energy and speed around 100 million times greater than the speed of light itself.
Did you find this relatable to something, if yes, you have my respect!
Yes, my friend, the big bang. This is the same way how the big bang occurred. The sudden burst of a highly denser yet infinitesimally smaller particle at a whooping unimaginable speed.
Okay read this carefully,
We all may be living on a planet in a universe filled with millions of black holes. On the basis of similarity with the big bang and black holes, we could say that, within each of these black holes in our universe, deep down their singularity, may exist single or multiple universes, just like ours. So just like that, we may also be living in a universe which resides down the singularity of a black hole which further lies among millions of other black holes in another universe and so on and so on. This could be an endless loop.
That’s why scientists believe that studying and figuring out the properties of a black hole may be our secret key to know the mysteries of this universe, including its origin.
4 – would a black hole kill you
as mentioned above, there are two possibilities once you cross the event horizon. This possibility applies only to supermassive black holes.
you wouldn’t reach anywhere close to the event horizon if it was a stellar black hole. You would freeze before you reach the inner event horizon and get what you call as spaghettified, your legs would experience more gravity than your head and you would be stretched and squeezed at the same time, like a toothpaste coming out of a tube.
and yes, you’ll die.
but in the case of a supermassive black hole, since it’s much larger compared to its mass, the gravity is uniform throughout allowing you to pass smoothly through the event horizon at a speed greater than the speed of light.
once you are moving towards singularity, either of these can happen;
- you would be warped so hard by the gravity towards the region of singularity and would be crushed down into subatomic particles. This could happen within seconds.
- the singularity may not affect you at all. You would somehow be passed through the infinite curvature of the singularity and would probably be transported to another galaxy or maybe another universe.
who knows? Maybe you will end up in another universe and may never be able to return.
none can say!
5 – is time travel possible through black holes?
In a way, yes. The only difference being that it would be terribly boring. There would be nothing interesting in that sort of time travel.
For example – imagine that you are in a spaceship and your job is to orbit the black hole for one hour. Okay, so you start orbiting this bizarre region. For one whole hour, you stay bored in your ship and after that when you return back to earth, your colleagues say that you’ve gone for 6 long years.
Yes. One hour spend within the orbit of a black hole will be equivalent to 6 years in the Earth. So in a way, you just traveled forward in time, the only difference being you wouldn’t be able to reverse the process. Yeah, pretty boring, right?
This time gap occurs due to the strong gravitational pull within the event horizon of the black hole. This strong gravity warps spacetime within its field causing it to slow down.
Even though time travel to the future is kind of possible, time travel to the past is totally illogical and impossible. According to the grandfather paradox, if you went back in time and killed your grandfather, your father won’t be born and therefore you as a person never existed. So you would be stuck in time, which is impossible according to the laws of physics.
So time travel to the past is an illogical concept from the above perspective. But, famous scientist Leonard Suskind in the late 1970s stated that it is possible to look into the past and future with the help of our very black hole itself.
He called it the quantum DVR. If a person was able to reach till the outer surface of a black hole and, if he would scan the outer event horizon, he would have access to all information about the past, present, and future of the black hole. He would know about the birth of the universe, secrets of the cosmos, parallel universe and whatever that occurred during the course of existence of the black hole.
But we won’t reach the nearby black hole which is 3500 light-years ahead, with our current technology and resources anytime soon.
So, time travel through the black hole is possible but won’t happen anytime soon. 🙂
6 – will humans ever be able to go near a black hole
We humans have always been curious about everything around us. Space exploration is one such curiosity for us.
But after the discovery of an overwhelmingly powerful region of matter that sucks up almost anything that goes through its path, even light, man’s curiosity got transformed into a fascination, to figure out the secret behind this bizarre region on space.
Black holes are not just empty regions of space for us, they might have answers or they might have the key to all the mysteries of this universe, from it’s birth to all the strange activities that we’ve seen so far.
“Do you realize that if you fall into a black hole, you will see the entire future of the Universe unfold in front of you in a matter of moments and you will emerge into another space-time created by the singularity of the black hole you just fell into?
It’s an excerpt from the book HOST OF COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY by Neil Degrasse Tyson. A renowned American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. it’s a must-read for every single person who has a curious and keen mind when it comes to black holes, space facts, and the cosmos.
We are studying black holes with highly powerful telescopes and other instruments from thousands of observatories and stations inside and outside the planet. But is that enough?
Shouldn’t we be closer to the black hole in order to understand it better?
But as of now, we aren’t capable of going anywhere close to the nearest blackholes.not with our current technology anyway. But will we ever be able to go near a black hole?
Let’s do the math.
The largest black hole, the Sagittarius – A, lies in the center of our milky way galaxy. If we develop a spaceship that could travel at the speed of light, it would take 25000 years to reach the Sagittarius-A.
Also considering the fact we’re unable to travel at least at half of the speed of light, supermassive black holes are way beyond our hopes. Let’s just leave it.
Let’s consider the nearest black hole near to us, it’s around 3500 light-years away from us. The voyager -1 which was launched in 1997, which could travel through space at a speed of 60000 km/ hour would take around 15 million years to reach the nearest black hole. So let’s just check out other possibilities as none of us would live to witness the voyager 1 near the black hole.
An alternate possibility is to develop a spaceship that uses antimatter as the fuel.
Yes, it’s possible!
Antimatter is the mirror image of matter. When antimatter meets matter, the result is an explosion. Both particles are annihilated in the process, and their combined masses are converted into pure energy – electromagnetic radiation that spreads outward at the speed of light.
Antimatter is an ideal rocket fuel because all of the mass in matter/antimatter collisions is converted into energy. Matter/antimatter reactions produce 10 million times the energy produced by conventional chemical reactions such as the hydrogen and oxygen combustion used to fuel the space shuttle.
We’re talking reactions that are 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear fission produced at a nuclear power plant, or by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And they are 300 times more powerful than the energy released by nuclear fusion, alas, the only way to produce antimatter is in large accelerators at places like CERN. Even the most powerful atom smashers only produce minute amounts of antiprotons each year – as little as a trillionth of a gram, which would barely light a 100-watt bulb for three seconds.
It would take tons of antimatter to fuel a trip to distant stars. It would take CERN roughly 1,000 years to produce one microgram of antimatter.
1000 years ain’t that long compared to the distance we’ve to cross in order to reach our nearest black hole. A space ship that is fuelled by antimatter would release high energy and could travel up to a distance of 60000 km per second.
So humanity does have a chance to actually go near the black hole but not anytime soon.
But the wait will be surely worth it. Ain’t it? 🙂
the bitter truth
Well, after reading this, i am pretty sure that if there were any astronomy lovers/space enthusiasts who were reading this post, they’d be thrilled or awestruck to all that mystery that black hole has in it, the possibility to know the truth about our universe and our existence.
But, after all, it’s just a maybe.
It’s all just a possibility, it’s all theoretical. We haven’t proved any of it yet.
We termed the region inside a black hole as the singularity and we have countless theories, research papers and much more bizarre predictions about how it all works inside.
But sadly, the fact is that we don’t have any real-time evidence of what happens deep inside a black hole or the so-called singularity nor do we have any idea about how supermassive black holes that power the quasar came into existence just millions of years after our existence.
So, what is the truth?
Does the black hole take us to a whole different universe or a parallel universe as the theories suggest?
Does the black hole hold the key to all the mysteries about the universe and to our existence?
Are the black holes and the big bang related in any way as the predictions and theories say?
Are we all living in a universe that is a tiny speck along with many other multiverses all trapped inside a huge black hole?
ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
Do you wish to learn more about the secrets that lie deep within the cosmos?