Black Holes

Imagine something so immensely dense that it swallows everything possible. Yes, anything. Black holes are touched upon in almost every universal documentary created; But the irony of it all? The world of science doesn’t necessarily have any proof they exist; not one picture has been taken. Only images of its satellites have been taken. This entire time scientists have been talking about black holes in the center of galaxies, even our own Milky-Way, when it could just be a supermassive ball of socks that disappear from your washing machines, all the chargers and headphones you continue to lose, and the pencils or pens you drop all the time.

All joking aside, black holes have a lot mathematical evidence pointing to the fact that they could exist, and studies of matter affected in the center of galaxies show supportive evidence as well. In order for one to be made, however, conditions must be nearly perfect. A star would need to be at least 25 times more massive than our sun. Anything below that but above 10 solar masses would create a neutron star, which is a star about 7 miles across that rotate up to 700 times a second. A star of this caliber is so dense, one cubic centimeter would weigh as much as 375,000,000,000 pounds. That’s equivalent to 93,750,000 average-sized, two-ton cars.

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If neither a black hole nor a neutron star is created, there are two other possibilities. One is relatively calm compared to the others. A small star would collapse in on itself and then explode outward releasing all of its gases, its dense core cooling over eons of time. The alternative? An explosion so great, it becomes 10 billion times brighter than the sun, and releases as much energy in just one second as our sun has in its 10 billion year lifespan. Deaths of stars have all kinds of cataclysmic endings. However, if a black hole is created, it has some abnormal properties.

A supermassive star will collapse in on itself until it becomes smaller than something called a Schwarzschild radius. Everything has a Schwarzschild radius where if it were compressed to a small enough size, it would be a suitable density for a black hole. Earth’s would be the size of a peanut… tiny, I know. This creates a singularity, which is another word for black hole. If you’re a science geek, you might be wondering: How dense is a singularity? Good question.

The density of water is one gram per centimeter squared (g/cm2), the density of iron is eight g/cm2, and the density of a singularity? Infiniteg/cm2. A singularity’s volume becomes so compressed and small with such a large mass that it is considered infinite. Now, since light can’t escape this infinitely dense, little point, if you were to look at a black hole you wouldn’t see this miniscule singularity or anything inside. Instead, you see something called the event horizon. This is the exact point that anything, even light, is sucked inside of the hole, meaning everything up until this horizon from inside out is true darkness. Around the black hole, the light from behind it is bent and distorted.

If you were to get up close and personal to a black hole, how would it affect you? Well, the closer you become – ignoring any effects of gravity to your body – you could reach something called the photon sphere. At this point light can orbit around by the event horizon and if you were to look to the left or right, in theory, you could see the back of your head. If someone was looking at you while you got closer and closer, your descent would seem slower and slower until you reached the event horizon. Since light can’t escape here, the person observing would see your body freeze, and then you would slowly become redder and redder until your body disappeared completely. This is because wavelength from your body is stretched out, giving a red tint, until it’s finally sucked in. Once inside, your body would be violently ripped apart and stretched atom by atom, called spaghettification.

Singularities may be tiny, but they can rip apart any simple matter. Singularities affect way more than just matter itself. In the universe, there is something called space-time relativity, theorized by Albert Einstein. This is the idea that three spacial dimensions and one time dimension are fused together to make our four dimensional world. This means that effects towards spacial dimensions also affect time; More specifically, mass affects time. Orbiting around an average-sized singularity for about two months would be the same as orbiting our sun for 500 years.

Black holes are evidently littered throughout the universe, affecting nearly any object remotely near them. Without them, not many galaxies would be held together, and something else with immense gravitational pull would have to take their place. However, with evidence pointing to their existence, there is only one question that cannot be answered. Inside of earth there’s an iron-nickel core, inside of stars there’s plasma and iron cores. Entering black holes, atoms are ripped apart and separated, so there cannot be exact elements like this inside. If nothing can escape a black hole, and any objects near it that pass the event horizon are ultimately engulfed… What’s inside?