Believe it or not: A Black Hole Question!

Black holes have come up a couple of times this week, and I’ve always wondered something. When you fall into a black hole, all sorts of strange things happen.

The most well-known one is that nothing — not even light — can ever escape once it falls in. Well, my question is, if you fell in to a black hole, as you crossed the event horizon in your sturdy, well-lit spaceship, would the lights stay on or would they go out as you crossed into the black hole? (Ignoring the tidal forces that would rip you and the spaceship apart.)

In other words, you’ve read the first 1497 pages of the Count of Monte Cristo as you cross the event horizon; will you be able to finish your book with your last remaining moments?


What do you think? Feel free to discuss below; I’ll post the answer with an explanation on Monday!

Comments

  1. #1 Brian
    November 20, 2009

    I would have guessed that the answer would have to be: we don’t know. Because we don’t really know that the laws of physics are still the same within the event horizon of a black hole. Am I wrong?

  2. #2 Sili
    November 20, 2009

    Of course they’d stay on. We’re in free fall, so we’ll be unable to detect any deviation of the laws of physics (ignoring, of course, tidal forces).

    Now the annoying astronomers, who’ve been reading Monte Christo over our shoulders, though, will be forced to go get their own book if they want to know the ending.

    In short, nothing can leave a black hole, but that says nothing about what can happen on the other side of the even horizon.

  3. #3 John Armstrong
    November 20, 2009

    Depends on the mass. Sili is right that you wouldn’t notice anything unusual as long as the event horizon was large enough. On the other hand, Brian is right that we have (as it stands) zero information on what happens past the event horizon. It could be a recreation of the Mad Hatter’s tea party by hyperintelligent squids for all we know, and the no-hair theorems tell us we don’t need to care. At least for classical holes.

  4. #4 _Arthur
    November 20, 2009

    When you fall into a black hole, nobody can hear you scream.

  5. #5 Clint
    November 20, 2009

    I don’t think you could see the light because of gravity. The light wont be able to travel to your eyes.
    Maybe you could see it you were between the light and the gravity well…briefly.

  6. #6 Andrew
    November 20, 2009

    I would guess yes? Assuming the laws of physics inside the Event Horizon are the same, it would kind of be like a miniature (closed) universe, wouldn’t it?

    I guess if the black hole were old enough, inside the event horizon would be so much captured light that it would be too bright to read?

    I’m just guessing.

  7. #7 Andrew
    November 20, 2009

    Actually… once you’ve fallen in, there’s no chance you can escape, and since you’re probably not a photon, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself from falling in even further… so wouldn’t you quickly be pulled into the singularity, or the core made up of whatever-is-denser-then-neutron-stars, and be crushed?

    Maybe if you’re a fast reader and have some wicked awesome sunshades.

  8. #8 NewEnglandBob
    November 20, 2009

    Light can not escape the black hole horizon because the curvature of space-time is so severe that it can not get out. It curves back.

    The light is still traveling at the speed of light. Special relativity will not be violated.

  9. #9 Derek
    November 20, 2009

    The event horizon is about the global properties of spacetime, in that the causal future is entirely inside the horizon. The local properties of spacetime are the same everywhere (except possibly at singularities), namely that if you take a small enough bit of it, it looks flat, and special relativity holds (local Lorentz symmetry). Nothing weird happens as you cross the horizon.

  10. #10 Daneel
    November 20, 2009

    As they say, I don’t think special relativity is violated inside the Horizon. Why should it be?

  11. #11 Eric Lund
    November 20, 2009

    The only thing that happens at the event horizon is that you lose your ability to communicate to the outside universe. (They can still send information to you, but you can’t reply.) The lights stay on until either tidal forces destroy your spaceship or radiation (it can’t escape, but it can still slosh around) fries the electrical systems.

  12. #12 DaveH
    November 21, 2009

    I’m not sure this is how I want to spend my final moments: I never finished The Count of Monte Cristo all those years ago back on Earth, so finishing it under these conditions is going to be a challenge…

    The lights would stay on, but – well, I started to think about how tidal forces might eventually affect the light itself, but then I realized I don’t know if the ship is falling straight in, or going round like driftwood in a whirlpool, and then does that depend on if the black hole is rotating and in order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right? So it could be carried by an African swallow but not a European. That’s my point.

  13. #13 Sophos
    November 21, 2009

    I THINK, according to relativity, yes, light would stay on.

  14. #14 Thomas Neil Neubert
    November 21, 2009

    Let me not take your bait.
    Instead let me ask a question. I think that I am correct in saying that a black hole is like an elementary particle in that it has only elementary properties like mass and spin and thus there are no surface distinquishing features like hair, astronauts, meteors and such stuck on the surface of an event horizon of a black hole. (i.e if a black hole has no hair, I can’t see how it could have a red dim astronaut, comet or meteor that it gobbled.)

    OK my question. It seems to me that in the standard theory, when I look at a black hole I should see nothing. That is, I should see the stars behind the black hole as if there was nothing in between the stars and me even though their is a massive black hole. So when we look at the chart that you showed at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, do we see both the stars in front of the black hole and the stars behind the black hole. I assume we’d see the stars behind the black hole because some of the light from them will be curved around the black hole. OK that’s a serious question and assumption about current black hole theory. feedback please. Thanks.

  15. #15 AutoFocus
    November 21, 2009

    Nice vid, showing how the Earth and our sky look if we had rings like Saturn’s:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT2sQ7KIQ-E

  16. #16 Riesz Fischer
    November 21, 2009

    As others have commented, we’re assuming it’s a very large black hole so the ship could at least make it through the even horizon before being destroyed by tidal forces. And we’re assuming there is no other nearby matter falling in, otherwise the ship would be toasted, which is what would happen to the ship in the picture, because there’s an accretion disk. Then, as others have said, any lights near the observer would be in her local inertial frame and would appear normal to her. But, say the ship went in bow first– a lantern on the bow would disappear when it crossed the horizon. (I’m guessing here– IANAP) (that means “I am not a physicist”).

    BTW, I love the space “ship” in the picture! It’s funny how in all the sci fi movies space ships always have an up and down.

  17. #17 Alex Besogonov
    November 21, 2009

    “meteors and such stuck on the surface of an event horizon of a black hole. (i.e if a black hole has no hair, I can’t see how it could have a red dim astronaut, comet or meteor that it gobbled.)”

    The rapidly dimming image of astronauts stuck almost on the event horizon is just an ‘optical effect’. I.e. the astronaut has crossed the event horizon loooong time ago, but the light they’ve emitted takes a long time to reach observer at infinity.

  18. #18 ralph137
    November 21, 2009

    It would seem that some form of death would happen. Brain death, heart not beating or no breath of life. Does the Christian soul get sucked up or down?

  19. #19 Bjoern
    November 21, 2009

    @Thomas:
    On its “surface” (which doesn’t really exist – the event horizon is not really a “surface” in the usual sense), or rather surrounding its surface, black holes can have many features, even a “red dim astronaut”. The stuff on the surface, or surrounding it, is not part of the black hole, hence the “no hair theorem” does not apply to that.

    The resolution in Ethan’s picture of the center of the Milky Way isn’t good enough to judge if the Black Hole blocks light from stars or lets it through – in that resolution, the Black Hole is much too small to see!

    Back-of-the-envelope calculations: The Black Hole has between 2 and 4 million solar masses; let’s use 3 million solar masses for an estimate. The Schwarzschild radius for our sun is about 3 km; that gives a Schwarzschild radius of about 9 million km for the Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way – only about 30 light seconds!

    In contrast, in the first picture which Ethan provided, a length scale of 1 light *year* is given; in the second, the scale given is 0.1 arc seconds. At a distance of about 27 000 light years to the galactic center, that translates to a length scale of about 0.013 light years; that’s still about 400 000 light seconds!

  20. #20 Damon B.
    November 21, 2009

    C = C and that’s good enough for me.

  21. #21 Craig Heinke
    November 21, 2009

    I posted “other” above. My thinking is: past the event horizon, all particles proceed directly to the singularity (do not pass GO), including photons. Definitely photons can’t move away from the singularity, so you won’t be able to see any lights or parts of your ship that are closer to the singularity than you are (regardless of how massive the black hole is, and thus how low the tidal forces are). But I suspect you would still be able to see the lights in some parts of the ship farther from the singularity, if they’re not too far to one side. These lights will go out, though, as the electrons will be unable to complete their circuits–if they could, some would be moving across the event horizon outwards (and others inwards) as the ship crosses the horizon. So, I change my opinion–the ship will go dark immediately.

    In conclusion, better finish the book ahead of time. But really, who would keep their nose in their book while they’re plunging through an event horizon?

  22. #22 Lex
    November 21, 2009

    Lights would “stay on” in a sense, but man would things look weird. In fact, they’d probably look pretty odd as you’re getting close to the black hole anyway, and I’m not sure that you’d notice you’ve crossed the event horizon; that is, that there is a measurable abrupt change in the way things look.

  23. #23 daedalus2u
    November 21, 2009

    Ha! trick question. Where the event horizon is depends on the reference frame. In the reference frame of something freely falling into a black hole, there is no event horizon. There is no singularity at the center because space has expanded and diluted the mass density to zero. You fall for forever (in your own reference frame) and space around you expands infinitely too; sort of what we are observing right now. What is “outside” becomes infinitely red shifted and gradually disappears as it gets red shifted into oblivion.

  24. #24 Beasjt
    November 21, 2009

    Light can´t get out. But it can get in. I wonder how other stars would look when their light gets sucked into a black hole to an unsquasable observer.

  25. #25 Andy
    November 21, 2009

    You write a lot about black holes lately. Does this have anything to do with the LHC’s restart?

  26. #26 vaibhav
    November 21, 2009

    ‘if you want to know what happens inside a black hole, look around!’ Darn i dont remember who said that. was it Suskind?

  27. #27 ppnl
    November 21, 2009

    Not a very interesting question. There would be nothing locally that would allow you to know when you crossed the event horizon.

    Better question, if you shine polarized light on a black hole would it cause it to spin? If not then what happened to the angular momentum?.

  28. #28 NewEnglandBob
    November 21, 2009
  29. #29 erik
    November 21, 2009

    Well you would only be able to see where light would be coming from, so you wouldn’t be able to see in front of you only what’s behind you.

  30. #30 complex field
    November 21, 2009

    As I understand relativity, an outside observer would see the ship approach the event horizon asymptotically, and the ship’s crew would see the universe (highly red shifted) evolve all the way to its end. I suspect that one would have time to finish the book before demise.

  31. #31 MadScientist
    November 21, 2009

    Since you’re falling as fast as the book, unless you’re at such a high speed that the light is shifted out of the visible, I guess you won’t see anything unusual happen.

    What type of matter can exist in a black hole? Would, for example, neutrons still exist or will they fall apart? What happens to photons which go in – can they interact with what’s in there?

  32. #32 Kevin
    November 22, 2009

    Would the lights stay on? Assuming you mean “would whatever’s emitting light on your ship continue doing so”, I’d answer yes, until the black hole separates the atoms too much to interact with each other in a way which causes them to emit a large number of visible-wavelength photons. As for “would you still be able to see”, it depends on how long your eyes/optic nerve/total neural processing center remains intact enough for you to process images. Also, it depends on your tolerance for 1500ish-page novels; I’d probably choose NOT to by then.
    As for the physics, my understanding of GR and its weirdo consequences is limited but: it seems as you approach the singularity, the “extra pull” of gravity (greater spacetime curvature, right?) would draw light that would normally be able to reflect off the book, into your eyes past you towards the singularity, but light that would otherwise have bounced off of atoms behind you might potentially reach your quickly-atomizing corneas. Perhaps it would be hard to read with a laser, but a diffuse source in your frame within the black hole must be, uh, “visible”. Certainly photons aren’t destroyed just from being within the event horizon (i.e. I agree with Craig H and am being obnoxious – simultaneous in all frames).

  33. #34 Max
    November 23, 2009

    I voted ‘lights go off’ using the following reasoning:

    If a light bulb is straddling an event horizon, it can’t exactly make a current–on one side of the current, electrons would have to move out of the black hole to complete the circuit.

    What do you think?

  34. #35 Mudbox
    November 23, 2009

    There is no event horizon; it is just an illusion created by gravitational lensing, ie self magnification of the small ball of collapsing matter.

    From the outside it would look like the matter is forever falling towards the event horizon, but really it is all just collapsing to the center, but magnified.

    I think they call them incipient black holes

  35. #36 Mr T
    November 23, 2009

    Could it depend on which direction you’re looking?

    If facing away from the center of the black hole, would the light become blue-shifted and brighter instead of red-shifted and darker?

  36. #37 Mu
    November 23, 2009

    At first I thought it doesn’t matter since you won’t have time to turn a page until you smack into whatever is at the center. But according to Wikipedia, there are supermassive black holes with 10 AU event horizon. Wouldn’t it suck to surprisingly survive going through the EH and then see a little dot about 100 min flying time ahead?
    I’d skip to the last page to find out who’d done it right away.

  37. #38 Doug Little
    November 23, 2009

    It’s all relative!

  38. #39 Thomas Neil Neubert
    November 23, 2009

    Thank you Alex and Bjoern. Your answers make sense.

  39. #40 Medical Spa MD
    November 29, 2009

    Where the event horizon is depends on the reference frame. In the reference frame of something freely falling into a black hole, there is no event horizon. There is no singularity at the center because space has expanded and diluted the mass density to zero. ~ solved it.

  40. #41 YESMAN
    January 21, 2010

    1st of all, a black hole isn’t really a hole
    It’s a condensed dead star, the reason it appears to be a black hole is because it’s mass is squeezed into a tiny fragment that it has massive gravity pull that it even pulls light from all and any direction. It’s still a solid piece.

  41. #42 Bruno de Coninck
    March 13, 2010

    Well, considering that english isn’t my first language it’ll be pretty difficult to explain it, but I’ll try…

    Recently, I saw a documentary that explained how it would look. First, you must know one think : when you travel at a speed near of the speed of light, all the light around you will lool like if it comes from one point in front of you. Behind you, the light will be so weak that every thing would seem to be black. So, it means that if you travel at the speed of light, all the lights sources around you will seem to squeeze in one point in front of you and, behind you, everything will be black.

    Now, if you was able to look at a black hole, you will see, of course, a black sphere surounded by a distortion of the stars around. Technically, the distortion of the univers itself in a black hole (beyond the event horizon) would have the opposit effect : all the light would squeeze behind you in only one point. The problem is that, if someone fall in a black hole, this person would travel to the speed of light. So, both effects combine and will create a ring of light around you.

    Have I been clear or my english isn’t good enought? Please answer me by e-mail, I’m currious to know! ^-^ Lol!

  42. #43 hakuna
    March 13, 2010

    a great black hole

  43. #44 selina
    March 13, 2010

    is the black hole oya…..??????

  44. #45 triosar
    March 13, 2010

    hahaha u are beliveing that selina….????? hahahahahahahahahahhahahahaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. #46 selina
    March 13, 2010

    arrrrrrggggg….!!!!! u must beleveing that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. #47 Johan
    March 31, 2010

    well a blackhole swallows everything, right? the event horizon is only the spot where light stands still.(the gravity at this point does not allow the light to travel out). So the lights would be on, but would fall back down, and the reflection of the letters will never reach u’r eyes, cause gravity would have sucked it down. Its a stupid question though…Heres a better one and easier to test………………..Is it possible for a person to shit,piss and throw up similtaniously,,, and would this cause a nuclear explosion???

  47. #48 Johan
    March 31, 2010

    and Bjorn……answer19….u are and idiot….u were asked whether the lights would be on…..and u started giving us theories on how to measure the and convert lightyears to kilometers. If I asked you 1 + 1….would you answer orange and red are of the same light spectrum and thus can easily fool or blind the eye if watched from a distance more than 3 meters…or .000000001 light years??????. Gahd dude.. Smart ppl always outsmart themselves hey!?!?…

  48. #49 Johan
    March 31, 2010

    ANOTHER EGG TO LAY……. If u travel in a plane greater than the speed of sound…does all the sound in the plane get stuck in the back of the plane or can you hear when people talk to you???? You can hear. Thus if u had a ship fast enough to overcome the gravitational forces of the hole, the inside of the ship would be subject to the same laws. The whole ship is traveling faster than the speed of the black hole….Thus the light inside the ship moves @ the speed of the ship + 300000KM/second. It would be like a boatcruise on the atlantic…..U would not even notice it.

  49. #50 Sphere Coupler
    March 31, 2010

    Ethan said:
    “If you fell into a black hole, would you still be able to see as you crossed the event horizon, or would everything go dark?”

    That’s a tricky question, the answer could be even quite trickier.

    It would be both light and dark *hears brains contorting*.

    In the area between you and the center (the destination) you would see nothing, however from you to the event horizon would be visible tho changed immensely from what you could call normal baryonic matter. As normal matter falls thru a event horizon it becomes realigned to a more acceptable form to merge with a black hole singularity.

    And it is my personal belief that the mass of a black hole is proportional to the mass that it is able to capture in a galactic spiral form, and because the massive BH spins, frame dragging causes the galaxy to spin.

    If you double the mass in the Galaxy then you half it’s velocity and ang mom., If you half the mass in a galaxy then you double the vel/ang mom.

    Sure, as you add more mass to the galaxy, all that mass collectively interacts with every bit of other mass circling the hole, but if that fact was significant then the mass would not form a spinning galaxy.

    The statement I read on wiki “The popular notion of a black hole “sucking in everything” in its surroundings is therefore only correct near the black hole horizon; far away, the external gravitational field is identical to that of any other body of the same mass” is crap.(there is no other body containing the same mass except another BH).

    1.Measure the mass of the Galaxy in question.
    2.Measure the velocity of the Galaxy in question.
    3.Measure the angular momentum of the Galaxy in question.
    4.Apply frame dragging corrections (this will have to wait for Gravity B and other probes)
    Deduce the proper mass,velocity and angular momentum for the black hole.

    I think we are in for an upgrade to the (less than one percent of total mass) in the distribution of mass in the universe.

    If the BH does not create the gravimetric space/area for the Galaxy to collect,then what does?

  50. #51 Sphere Coupler
    March 31, 2010

    OK, one more prediction…Given access to all needed mass,The mass of a given BH will roughly equal the normal + dark matter within the same Galaxy minus dynamic effects of spin.

  51. #52 Johan
    April 1, 2010

    u guys seem to be forgetting that the blackhole was once a star and all that has happened is the neutrons got blasted away… So its actually, matter with allot of mass but no measurable distance….. I may be corrected. Light bends around the moon due to gravitational forces. The blackhole would be a crashbarrier to start of with…..theres no going into or coming out of…… the ship gets drawn to a single point due to gravity instead of a large landing eg….earth. So what actually needs to be asked is the ship going to be strong enough to stay in one piece…If it does…..then I’m sticking to previous answer.. when u break the sound barrier with a plane…the noise inside the cockpit does not get sucked away through the back of the plane…..u are allready defeating the laws of sound with u’r plane…..therefore the inside of the cockpitt will stay unbreached by the forces of gravity, because u have allready defeated the laws of the BH. Everything will be normal inside the cockpit…Now….. STOP TRYING TO BE SMART BY INSINUATING THE BH WILL HAVE EFFECT ON INSIDE OF SHIP….As u look outside the windows of said spacecraft…the light should come flying past @ different speeds depending how close to the .000000001mm surface you get. But the light inside the ship will be fine, because u are traveling at a speed high enough to break the speed of gravity….oh and ethan..not the mass of the galaxy…the mass of the Light of the galaxy….is what u should be looking @. And the frame dragging will only happen while looking outside, also not frame dragging, but frame speeding.

  52. #53 Viktor
    April 16, 2010

    Gosh. I wish the question was more complete. The answer to the question will slightly differ but will make the same point. If you were entering a black hole that is stationary you would pass through the event horizon and look back to see nothing has changed but in front of you will still be black bcos the light still aint comin back so the one direction you’ll receive light from i s directly behind you. If the black hole is rotating, you still wont see in front of you but due to the spiral direction of light you will see light from a few more directions. Either way you’ll see light. And answer 49: you are completely wrong according to Einstein light no matter what will travel at its constant speed unless refracted so if you travel at the speed of light you’ll see light as it is normally but traveling at its same speed in a different situation if you are slower well’ say au revoir to each photon passing by you.

    Peace of advice: if you want to read your book, go to the rear window:P

  53. #54 Viktor
    April 16, 2010

    Oh yeah and you stop seeing light right after it passes your eyes so point of correction, you cant read but you can see light.

  54. #55 Robbie
    May 3, 2010

    Of course it will go dark. As we all know, nothing can escape from a black hole, including light. This means that the light from your ship will be pulled into the heart of the black hole and it will therefore go dark!!!

  55. #56 sikee
    May 4, 2010

    BUNCH OF NERDS

  56. #57 Abel
    May 27, 2010

    I think if we ever fell or get sucked into one we’ll be ripped apart instantly by the strong wrath of gravity and then disappear forever.I’m also sure that no one knows with certainty what happens to matter inside it the so called SINGULARITY the point where all known laws of Physics fall apart.We can tell the things that ever fell into it are mixed with gases and dust creating infinite amounts of energy waiting to be unleashed.

  57. #58 Abel
    May 27, 2010

    And for the ship i suppose it would burn before it exploded and the light would go out for the darkness.

  58. #59 hugh
    May 31, 2010

    Since, past the event horizon, light can’t travel; we couldn’t sense or detect anything beyond that anyway. We are without technology that transmits energy or signals faster than light. Nor do we have senses which can detect anything that fast either. Our brains can’t even cycle reality as it really exists, how could they handle a black hole? You’d probably ( for a brief moment) witness the bending of light before your ass became part of your face quicker than you could say “oh…”,let alone…”shit”

  59. #60 graham
    June 10, 2010

    you are all wrong, black holes are an illusion of non-linear time and movement of space

  60. #61 kim pyles
    July 8, 2010

    tone in youll see

  61. #62 nitin
    July 15, 2010

    this universe is as we all can understand by made up by one or many or any , “i perhaps do not know what really should i write for this, but i ended up with” that to which we understand as god , so i mean simply we understand god made , making or will make this universe or there is something else which we even can not understand.

    So , when i answer this question i understand i am not sure what really would happen.

    it will be complete dark(into black hole).
    it will be complete light(into black hole).
    or something else .
    or something which we may not understand.

    Thank you, all to read this post.

  62. #63 P.Daddy
    July 19, 2010

    If i Fell into the black hole, i might see ur mother’s Smelly Shyt coz ur Mom’z asshole is not less than the black hole…

  63. #64 kharans rath
    August 3, 2010

    what is black hole actually?means is it created or a part of the universal system?

  64. #65 Jason H
    August 7, 2010

    A black hole is a collapsed star…a star is anything massive enough to ignite a fusion reaction at the core(not just liquid iron like the earth)…the sun’s a star…what makes the sun different is that it’s a fusion reaction between hydrogen(H+) molecules to make helium(He) while giving off energy in the forms of heat and light…when the sun dies it will run out of hydrogen…collapsing into itself retaining it’s mass while shrinking greatly in size…

    It’s important to understand on an atomic scale…protons and neutrons (which make up atomic nuclei)are incredibly small weighing in at 1.67×10^-27kg with a diameter of 1×10^-10, and electrons at 9.11×10^-31kg and a diameter 1/1000 that of a proton or neutron…

    Now it’s about gravity…most people understand gravity as a force that pulls things down, but it actually pushes things towards a massive enough object…it wasn’t until Einstien discovered that matter distorts spacetime…think of how a drop of water creates radiating concentric waves except there’s only one wave and it’s constant…if one could observe a black hole he would be able to see this distortion as a ring around a black spot distorting the background so much that we can actually observe objects behind it…

    Cliche’ time! ya know how the portrayal of things getting sucked into black holes is the poor guy or spaceship gets streched out as they fall in…that’s actually correct… black holes are so massive that not even light can escape their gravitational pull…but so small in volume that the full force isn’t felt until you are very near it…

    Now that we made it through all that…the moment you’ve been waiting for…since it’s essentially gravity’s job to force stuff together and black holes have a lot of mass which equals a lot of gravity…and knowing that everything is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons…that’s what your black hole is made out of…you gotta know that if an atomic nuclei were the sun…it’s electrons would be the planets…everything else is free space…black holes have so much gravity that anything unfortunate enough to get caught in one has all it’s protons, neutrons and electrons smushed all together…
    So the answer is…you die…current understanding of gravity and matter is…death by supercompression…it’s like crushing a car only a lot more efficient…

    There is currently a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy that is estimated to weigh anywhere from 3-4million times that of the sun and have a diameter of about 1/10 of the earth’s orbital diameter around the sun…but we’re nowhere near it…by about 65,000 light years…or 382 quadrillion miles…literally…

  65. #66 Jason H
    August 7, 2010

    ADDENDUM TO PREVIOUS STATEMENT: after reading a few more posts it came to my attention that many of you actually believe that a black hole is actually a hole in the universe that one could pass straight through…false…some people have also used the term singularity incorrectly…the gravity of a black hole compresses all matter into a singularity of protons, neutrons, and electrons (or the subparticle quarks)…since space is a vaccum everything is effected in a 360 degreee direction…notice how everything in space is round…maybe not perfectly…but still round with a gravitational axis that allows thing to orbit it…but in the case of a black hole it just gets sucked in and looks like a vortex but a black hole is a just a spherical clusterf#&% of particles and subparticles…so i’ll say it again…gravity crushes you like a f#$&@ng bug and you become part of a tennis ball that weighs as much a 3-4 million suns…

  66. #67 Vishal
    September 3, 2010

    I have a question.If the Black Hole is the densest object in the universe then how anyone will be able to fall into it?

  67. #68 Sphere Coupler
    September 3, 2010

    Vishal;

    You would be ripped apart down to your elementary particles and be assimilated in the density and the Schwarzschild radius will enlarge proportionally to your mass.

  68. #69 mihai serbu
    September 26, 2010

    you can cleary read your book

  69. #70 Nick and Lewis
    October 16, 2010

    There is a possibility that the lights would not go out as in the dimensions of as yet unknown so called “blackhole” physics that the lights may be well and truly still on once you enter the blackhole. In fact life may seem to go on as usual from a superficial perspective.

  70. #71 crd2
    October 17, 2010

    @Jason H.

    I kept reading, waiting for you to stop babbling and answer the actual question. Way to regurgitate information that has little/nothing to do with the actual question posed. And is it just me or did 65% of the post’s totally miss Ethan’s disclaimer stating that this is assuming one could survive the tidal forces as well as the ship?

    I also think that the direction you face makes an impact on whether you see light or not. Face out, yes you should see distorted light. Face inward toward the singularity and you see no light.

  71. #72 Ali
    October 18, 2010

    GOD Swears by: (I swear with the hidden attractive force ,the Sweeping Stars.
    SORAT AT-TAKWIR (THE OVERTHROWING)
    (as they sweep at night and disappears in day light, just like hyena) ,
    Guys I’m a very simple Muslim, who read this on the holy Quran.

  72. #73 Jim sang
    October 19, 2010

    One would be dead anyway so what does it matter?

  73. #74 cooper
    October 20, 2010

    is light realy afectid by gravity at all in the first place. even if the gravitationel pole was vary intens light could escape, this says that a black hole may not even be a hole at all, infat what if the black hole is anti gravity pushing evry thing to the sides of it making evrything closer to gether, how do we Know if itas even cefferical , as far as we know we could be in a black hole right now (pardon my speling)

  74. #75 Lisa
    October 27, 2010

    The matter that allows lightwaves to form is not present in a black hole. Light cannot exist in a black hole, so no – You’d never know what happened to the Count of Monte Cristo (ignoring the fact that you’d be dead long before you entered the hole).

  75. #76 john fichtner
    November 18, 2010

    Once you fall into a black hole, you will become as large as penny and weigh as much as one hundred thousand elephants. You will be super dense and compressed it would be unimaginable. No chance of anything living or moving. You will become a part of something very hungry and posessive. You will be absorbed forever. I would not like to be anywhere near a black hole.

  76. #77 Mark A
    November 22, 2010

    Jason H has explained everything so i can’t understand why people are still posting. But assuming the forces inside the black hole are ineffective to the pilot and ship, the answer is you would see nothing outside the ship as photons (light), including the light emitted by the ship, along with everything else, will be pulled towards the central singularity and therefore unable to reach your eyes.

  77. #78 JIM
    February 27, 2011

    black holes must be two dimensioal

  78. #79 Hisham
    March 19, 2011

    Hi…
    Lets not complicate it,one of the major characters of the black holes is that they rip off every subject swallowed by,right?ok,you are ignoring the tidal force in your question,so,obviously the subject swallowed would remain in shape,strictly speaking,the ship and the light structures are not ripped or crashed a part,i think they would maintain thgier physical characters.

  79. #80 Orjin krem
    March 19, 2011

    Jason H has explained everything so i can’t understand why people are still posting. But assuming the forces inside the black hole are ineffective to the pilot and ship, the answer is you would see nothing outside the ship as photons (light), including the light emitted by the ship, along with everything else, will be pulled towards the central singularity and therefore unable to reach your eyes.

  80. #81 Jim Bottom
    March 30, 2011

    The lights would stay on inside the spacecraft just as a car speeding down the road at 100 miles an hour and a fly flying inside that car is flying relative to the parcel of air in the car but if it were to go outside then it would be torn to bits being under the 100 miles an hour speed reference the earths gravity.

  81. #82 jj
    April 5, 2011

    The lights would stay on ( if you had them on ) ,becouse every cm youre nearer the black hole the time slows down until it stops , then the hole pulls EVERY part of anything thats inside it apart, so before it pulls everything apart, then yes it will stay on.

  82. #83 unkown
    April 12, 2011

    My theory of a black hole is that when people go inside it doesn’t suck you in but takes you in another dimension. Think about it there are dozens of stars in the galaxy it’s impossible for the black hole to destroy all of the planet that is next to it.

  83. #84 B.
    April 19, 2011

    This is such a great topic. I can’t express how impressed and excited I am that everyone has remained calm and cooperative in this discussion. It’s so rare to find that anymore.
    I admit that I was very sure that everything would go very dark. Upon reading some of the responses I was forced to recall the theory called to attention by theoretical physisicts, as an individual crosses the event horizon, nothing unusual happens. At least not that the individual can feel. To an observer, the entering individual would be vaporized or “spagettified” or whatever else might occur when sucked into a black hole. But the individual would see and feel no change at all.
    How they know this is beyond me. But if I’m basing my vote off of an educated guess then my vote says that if the technology to travel at the speed of light to reach the black hole has been discovered, we would certainly have good light fixtures.

  84. #85 Anonymous
    April 28, 2011

    Supposing that you don’t instantly die from the extreme pressure and gravitational force, everything would seem normal to you. However, to everyone else outside of the black hole, it would appear as if you had stopped completely.

    The answer to this problem is general relativity. If you know anything about the basis of general relativity, then you know that it’s based upon the fabric of spacetime. Also, it is known that heavy objects warp the fabric of spacetime. However, this warping is also based on the density of the object upon it. This is where a black hole comes in.

    Black holes are known as gravity “final triumph” over stars. Essentially, when the mass of a neutron star is so great, gravity squeezes all of the mass into an infinitesimally small point. Since density equals mass times volume, we essentially divide by zero and the density becomes infinite. Thus, this warps the fabric of spacetime almost infinitely. And since gravity is the term for the effect that the black hole has on space, we must examine the effect that it has on time. If you look up a diagram of a black hole’s effect on spacetime, you’ll see that spacetime is warped waaaaaay before the event horizon, or the point of no return.

    So, in the end, it’s because black holes warp the fabric of time, as well as space. In fact, from the perspective of Earth, even someone hovering outside of the event horizon of a black hole with experience time dilation. But, it’s at this point of ultimate density where, according to the outside world, all time stops.

    To answer your questions, the lights would stay on from the perspective of the person in the black hole, but would go out from the perspective of the person outside of the black hole. In other words, it’s *relative* to your position. Thus is the nature of relativity.

  85. #86 yogi
    May 3, 2011

    Good Article…unfathomable black hole…..more to be invented…

  86. #87 Sofia
    May 17, 2011

    i beleive that if a black hole sucked you in you would still see your lights but they would not be visable to anyone else

  87. #88 Sofia
    May 17, 2011

    i beleive that if a black hole sucked you in you would still see your lights and yoursef but you would not be visable to anyone else, but this is highly unlikely since the inside of a black hole is under such extreme pressure that you would most likely implode, this would kill you instantly.

  88. #89 Wayne Church
    June 24, 2011

    I think it is and always will be conjecture at best. The closest black hole is near the center of the Milky Way, 26,000 light years from earth. Now being unrealistic we have a few problems to solve before we can even takeoff. First we need a spaceship that will exceed the speed-of-light significantly. For this discussion I will use the Starship Enterprise which, according to one episode, maxes out at Warp 7 or seven times the speed of light. At the speed it will take 3,714 earth years to get there, that is 92 generations of space travelers and, at least four generations will be alive at any one time except the initial start up. Leaving in 2011, the ship will arrive in the year 5725. Certainly not like going to the store.

  89. #90 markrabone
    June 26, 2011

    ignoring the ripping part, you would be going faster than light, if the light was in front of you toward the hole you would be able to see but if the light was behind you it wouldn’t be able to catch you the light will only point one way and thats back, it would be a beam off a light bolb or a streack of light it would be weird you would have to read side ways to catch the light that bounced of the book and the letters would a meter long for each letter. And if you turned the book side ways the letters would a meter tall let alone your hands

  90. #91 Cathal
    July 1, 2011

    I read a book about black holes the other day. Seems it’s like time travel. If you survive a black hole experience (which is impossible) it’ll feel like 5 minutes, but when you return to earth they’ll ask- “Where on EARTH have you been? You’ve been away for 20 years.” Creepy, right?

  91. #92 Fisayo
    August 15, 2011

    Well nothing seems to be absolute in our universe but can be measured in relationship with other objects. The gravitational field will accelerate every particle from light to a piece of cake so the effect should remain the same since the observer is also accelerated at the same rate photons are accelerated.

  92. #93 waseem
    January 2, 2012

    i read alot about black holes it’s vacum the died stars but if the spaceship get inside it will crash but will it crash from the stars or the power of vacuming ?

  93. #94 Steve H
    Cali
    March 28, 2013

    Hmmm… old topic, but… Lights would stay on because light is entering the black hole at the same time you are. Any relativistic effects are already being witnessed before entering… but a puzzling question. At some point does the Schwartzchild radius theorem become inneffectual? Because if not, then that CMBR might just be the surface of the integral black hole at the edge of our cosmic horizon… with geodesic expansion, this idea doesn’t necessarily negate big bang theory.

Current ye@r *