• Question: what happens inside a black hole?

    Asked by 07quiambaoj to Alastair, Emma, Hywel, Keith, Vicki on 23 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Hywel Vaughan

      Hywel Vaughan answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      Black holes have exceptionally large (that’s a huge understatement!) gravity forces that are strong enough to bend light quiambao. When it comes to something going into them, anything entering them such as a meteor would first be torn apart by large tidal forces in something known as spaghettification or ‘the noodle effect’. It would then be crushed to infinite density and its mass added to that of the black hole itself.
      Something you want to stay well away from!

    • Photo: Keith Brain

      Keith Brain answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      That is very hard to know, because it is theoretically impossible (sort of) to get information out of a black hole! Black holes area surrounded by a boundary called the “event horizon”. If something is inside the event horizon, then light (or any time of radiation or particle) can’t escape from it, so we can get no signal from it. We can tell how much mass is inside, its charge, and how quickly its is spinning; but anything else is very difficult. It is even hard to define whether there is any such thing as “inside” a black hole, because space is so distorted, so different to us, that defining what “inside” means is difficult.

      The next problem is “happens” – which implies something about time – not even time passes in the normal way in a black hole. To find out more, you might want to check out Stephen Hawking’s “A brief history of time” which has a nice section on black holes.

    • Photo: Vicki Stevenson

      Vicki Stevenson answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      oh – not an area I’m very sure of, but I think that everything gets crushed

    • Photo: Alastair Sloan

      Alastair Sloan answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      Wow – well this question has been baffling and exciting physicists for ages and the answer is no-one can be sure. This is not my field at all, but I am interested in astrophysics (never any good at it at school) so I’ll give answering this a go.

      Inside a black hole not much goes on at all, even though it sucks in anything that gets to close to it. At the centre is something called a Singularity, which is an infinitely small point in the middle. To really know what goes on the centre of a black hole we really need to watch something coming out, such as light (which is what all astronomers use to explain the workings of the universe) but of course in a black hole no light leaves because the gravitational pull of the black hole is so big it even stops light escaping.

      If you think of that huge pull of gravity stopping light getting out, it is likely once in a black hole everything gets squished – big time!!!!

    • Photo: Emma Carter

      Emma Carter answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      My knowledge of black holes is limited to anything Dr. Who or Mr. Spock says about them. (I think things get generally squashed).