Maybe You Really Can Use Black Holes to Travel the Universe

travel through black hole like interstellar

Can you really survive traveling through an enormous black hole? A team of physicists has been studying the notion. (Roen Kelly/Discover)

One of the most cherished science fiction scenarios is using a black hole as a portal to another dimension or time or universe. That fantasy may be closer to reality than previously imagined.

Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the universe. They are the consequence of gravity crushing a dying star without limit, leading to the formation of a true singularity – which happens when an entire star gets compressed down to a single point yielding an object with infinite density. This dense and hot singularity punches a hole in the fabric of spacetime itself, possibly opening up an opportunity for hyperspace travel. That is, a short cut through spacetime allowing for travel over cosmic scale distances in a short period.

Researchers previously thought that any spacecraft attempting to use a black hole as a portal of this type would have to reckon with nature at its worst. The hot and dense singularity would cause the spacecraft to endure a sequence of increasingly uncomfortable tidal stretching and squeezing before being completely vaporized.

Flying Through a Black Hole

My team at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a colleague at Georgia Gwinnett College have shown that all black holes are not created equal. If the black hole like Sagittarius A*, located at the center of our own galaxy, is large and rotating, then the outlook for a spacecraft changes dramatically. That’s because the singularity that a spacecraft would have to contend with is very gentle and could allow for a very peaceful passage.

The reason that this is possible is that the relevant singularity inside a rotating black hole is technically “weak,” and thus does not damage objects that interact with it. At first, this fact may seem counter intuitive. But one can think of it as analogous to the common experience of quickly passing one’s finger through a candle’s near 2,000-degree flame, without getting burned.

candle flame

Hold your finger close to the flame and it will burn. Swipe it through quickly and you won’t feel much. Similarly, passing through a large rotating black hole, you are more likely to come out the other side unharmed. (Credit:
mirbasar/Shutterstock.com)

 

My colleague Lior Burko and I have been investigating the physics of black holes for over two decades. In 2016, my Ph.D. student, Caroline Mallary, inspired by Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film “Interstellar,” set out to test if Cooper (Matthew McConaughey’s character), could survive his fall deep into Gargantua – a fictional, supermassive, rapidly rotating black hole some 100 million times the mass of our sun. “Interstellar” was based on a book written by Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Kip Thorne and Gargantua’s physical properties are central to the plot of this Hollywood movie.

Building on work done by physicist Amos Ori two decades prior, and armed with her strong computational skills, Mallary built a computer model that would capture most of the essential physical effects on a spacecraft, or any large object, falling into a large, rotating black hole like Sagittarius A*.

Not Even a Bumpy Ride?

What she discovered is that under all conditions an object falling into a rotating black hole would not experience infinitely large effects upon passage through the hole’s so-called inner horizon singularity. This is the singularity that an object entering a rotating black hole cannot maneuver around or avoid. Not only that, under the right circumstances, these effects may be negligibly small, allowing for a rather comfortable passage through the singularity. In fact, there may no noticeable effects on the falling object at all. This increases the feasibility of using large, rotating black holes as portals for hyperspace travel.

Mallary also discovered a feature that was not fully appreciated before: the fact that the effects of the singularity in the context of a rotating black hole would result in rapidly increasing cycles of stretching and squeezing on the spacecraft. But for very large black holes like Gargantua, the strength of this effect would be very small. So, the spacecraft and any individuals on board would not detect it.

This graph depicts the physical strain on the spacecraft’s steel frame as it plummets into a rotating black hole. The inset shows a detailed zoom-in for very late times. The important thing to note is that the strain increases dramatically close to the black hole, but does not grow indefinitely. Therefore, the spacecraft and its inhabitants may survive the journey. (Credit:  Khanna/UMassD)

This graph depicts the physical strain on the spacecraft’s steel frame as it plummets into a rotating black hole. The inset shows a detailed zoom-in for very late times. The important thing to note is that the strain increases dramatically close to the black hole, but does not grow indefinitely. Therefore, the spacecraft and its inhabitants may survive the journey. (Credit:
Khanna/UMassD)

The crucial point is that these effects do not increase without bound; in fact, they stay finite, even though the stresses on the spacecraft tend to grow indefinitely as it approaches the black hole.

There are a few important simplifying assumptions and resulting caveats in the context of Mallary’s model. The main assumption is that the black hole under consideration is completely isolated and thus not subject to constant disturbances by a source such as another star in its vicinity or even any falling radiation. While this assumption allows important simplifications, it is worth noting that most black holes are surrounded by cosmic material – dust, gas, radiation.

Therefore, a natural extension of Mallary’s work would be to perform a similar study in the context of a more realistic astrophysical black hole.

Mallary’s approach of using a computer simulation to examine the effects of a black hole on an object is very common in the field of black hole physics. Needless to say, we do not have the capability of performing real experiments in or near black holes yet, so scientists resort to theory and simulations to develop an understanding, by making predictions and new discoveries.The Conversation

Gaurav Khanna, Professor of Physics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: black holes, cosmology
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  • magic man

    First!

    • magic man

      Magic

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/CRWilliams CR Williams

    Not trying to be the downer in all of this but this sounds like theories stacked on other theories and that perhaps maybe we are drifting in the range now of science fiction as opposed to science.

    • OWilson

      Do a Google search for The Big Bang Theory, and all you get is page after page of TV sit-com trivia.

      188,000,000 hits!

      This is what is passing for “science” today!

      • anarchduke

        out of curiosity, where did you get your phd in astrophysics? I mean, you must have one since you are discarding the theory without offering any particular evidence that it is wrong. So obviously you must have the qualifications to disprove it.

        • OWilson

          In a quantum universe, says Nobelist Murray Gel-Mann, everything that is not forbidden is compusory.

          So if it’s all the same to you, I’ll just wait until my relatives from the future come visit, and tell me how to make a bundle in the markets! :)

        • Stephan Vanhoek

          This isn’t oz and american universities only act like they’re the wizard

        • https://www.youtube.com/user/CRWilliams CR Williams

          Major claims require major evidence. Your major claim is that black holes may actually be wormholes. Your evidence is theory stacked on other theories which can neither be proven or disproven. Not an astrophysicist here, however, much of this has started to sound more like science fiction for some time.

  • mahershallelhashbaz

    Perhaps this method of using black holes as a means to tweak the space/time continuum is what the pumpkin-headed character Samhain from “The Real Ghostbusters” cartoon had utilized to stop time on the night on Halloween so that the world remain in an eternal night.
    Possibly the Russians already have this technology but we don’t know if President Putin passed this secret on to President Trump when they were alone together at Helsinki because Trump had his translator’s notes taken away immediately afterward.

    • Chiron

      Wow, you’re smart, huh?

      • mahershallelhashbaz

        Huh? What?

    • Ticking Bomb

      Dumb comment here.

      • mahershallelhashbaz

        Ahem. I’m merely trying to make the best if a bad situation, like getting sucked into a black hole or watching a bad state actor affecting the nation’s economy in the worse way possible. You see, it’s all relative, with the subject matter pertaining to “the blessing of the abyss that crouches below” (Genesis 49:25). The Biblical Patriarch Joseph was an official under the Pharaoh and was married to the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis, which was the cult center of the sun god Re, having its own cosmology that was alien to the Semites who settled in Egypt’s Delta region. Joseph received from his father, the Patriarch Jacob, an inheritance from the land of Canaan; a portion of land in the vicinity of the city of Shechem (Genesis 48:22). The name Shechem has affinities with the vital force known as “sekhem” in Egyptian beliefs which was one of the attributes acquired by King Unas in the afterlife, according to his pyramid inscription from the 24th century B. C. E. So Joseph inherits this shaman tradition from his ancestors by virtue of his being a “nazir,” or consecrated one, even while maintaining a position as second in command to one of the Pharaohs.

        • Ticking Bomb

          You need a shrink. Nothing to add to all of that nonsense.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            Yeah go on. Wait for another believer that you presume you can make a fool of with your elitist attitude.

          • Ticking Bomb

            Dude, believer in what?!? What are you talking about? You came out of nowhere spewing religious propaganda left and right, but this conversation has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Please, seek help. Stop trying to shove your religious beliefs onto others. Not appreciated.

            Hey I too believe there is an Almighty God, in case you are wondering; and it kind of bothers you that I may sound like I don’t, which in itself would not be a sin anyway if that were the case. But darn me if you’ll ever catch me impregnating every online conversation with my religious beliefs. My beliefs are my beliefs, and yours should be yours. This thing here is about science. That is all. Don’t get offended.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            Too late. You said my comment was “dumb,” unaware that you were close to a spider hole. I’ve taken note of your youthful optimism and I will be making my rounds on this blog in the hope of trapping other like-minded commentators in my web.

          • Ticking Bomb

            Oh really… “spider hole”?? Trapping what in your “web” now? “Youthful optimism”?Lol

            Nothing you say makes any sense, friend. You seem to be suffering from a serious bout of delusions. Or perhaps it’s just the resulting effect brought about by your egotistical literary euphoria, which nobody seems to care about. Please seek treatment. I wish you well. Truly do.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            I remember watching Star Trek and wondering why all the inhabitants of alien worlds knew English. So far, I’ve noticed only one comment on this blog that mentions what we recently found about interstellar space being full of debris left over from the Big Bang, rendering travel between the stars too dangerous. That sucks because I like Star Trek, though at this point it just doesn’t seem feasible without slamming into a lot of sooty dust particles along the way. But you.and the rest of the commentators tried, nonetheless, to provide Hollywood with the raw ingredients that could be used in a screenplay not unlike the film “interstellar.” I’m sorry if you don’t like my reference to a Saturday morning cartoon that I only watched one episode of, but I wanted to take full credit for making a new nickname stick to that tyrant like pumpkin innards.

          • Ticking Bomb

            Lmao you really are a bit nutty. But that’s cool.

            Just tell me… when have I spoken about Hollywood or fantasy sci-fi series, or whatnot on here? I have not yet said a word about that, so don’t know why you even bring it up. Just like when you began babbling about religion. Wheew, that was deep! Lol Until that point I had not mentioned a single word about religion. Yet you chose to twist the subject and go there.

            And now you try to pull me in by stating that I have, along with other posters on here, given Hollywood the “ingredients” for a sci-fi screenplay.

            Listen friend, I have not done such thing. My only other comment actually stated the contrary. In it I said that the devil hides in the assumptions. That computer simulations IMO can and will probably always be tweaked as much as possible to comply with far-fetched objectives. Pls, read b4 you comment on someone elses’ posts. When I said that your comment about the cartoon thing was kind’a dumb it was because I truly thought it was. Imo, it had nothing to do with real science or the subject at hand about the possibility of space travel through super massive black holes.

            Btw, I too am a hardcore Star Trek fan. And yes, I agree with some of your observations there… esp about dust and debris in the cosmos… at least to a certain extent. But I must observe that not all the cosmos is full of dust. For what I’ve read about it, there are regions that are dirtier or dustier than other regions. If it was that bad, as you make it seem, to render space travel impossible, then the Voyager missions, and other space missions before and after, would have failed miserably from the get go, don’t you think? A huge hole would have punched through them and billions of dollars in technology would’ve been lost, rendering NASA, and other space programs throughout the world, mission-less long ago.

            Oh, and we all know Star Trek is full of fantasy. No need to remind us about that. It’s just fun to watch. English spoken everywhere lol… even in the “Delta” quadrant! Hey, it’s a miracle, eh! Everyone knows freaking English, how about it! Trust me, that’s one thing I’ve always complained about. And many Star Trek fans have too. But wud it be better for you if we had to read subtitles throughout hundreds of episodes if the producers had opted for not fitting the show with an intergalactic language translator so that all the aliens species can understand each other? I mean, you do know about the translator, don’t you? ‘Cause if you don’t, then you haven’t really watched Star Trek.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            I don’t remember an intergalactic translator from Star Trek. But you in fact acknowledge the limitations on interstellar space travel in your comment and then you added the part about the calm in the storm for which I have no recollection reading about. So did you get that from a journal or was it intuitive, as my initial comment was although it was a bit off the subject?

        • Michael Cleveland

          Hmmm…religious word salad. Almost as much fun as the pseudo scientific variety. C+ for entertainment value.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            There was a character in an episode of Stargate SG-1 entitled “Thor’s Hammer” whose name is also Unas like the ancient Egyptian king known for a hymn Inscribed on his pyramid with its cannibalistic theme of acquiring the attributes of the gods in the afterlife by devouring them. That in itself gives my comment a certain level of geek status though I haven’t studied physics which might as well be written in hieroglyphics. The ancient Semitic cosmology retained in the Bible is much easier to grasp so as to enable someone like myself to comprehend the field of physics. In fact, a decade ago it was revealed that the inscriptions in the pyramid of Unas included spells in the Proto-Canaanite language used by foreign priests to expell species of snakes native to Canaan.

          • Michael Cleveland

            You would do better to try using Physics to understand ancient Semitic cosmology. You would get a less fuzzy picture.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            Yes, but I have s reliable source:
            “And resumed Jacob his journey and came to the land of the sons of the east” Genesis 29:1.
            If your cosmology is inherited from the former Mittanni empire where the shaman kings reigned, having enthroned the entheogen cannabis to a sacred status, then it works for me,
            as it did for Jacob, “lifting up his feet” to the land of the easterners; the tradition inherited by the “Nazir,” or consecrated one (Genesis 49:26).

            In your expert opinion, if the Jewish esoteric tradition called “The Workings of the Chariot” based on the first and tenth chapters of the book of Ezekiel are explaining the interaction of the four fundamental forces of physics, couldn’t that be a design of a spacecraft?

          • C.B. Villeneuve

            Quoting from fairy tales and Sci-Fi movies to bolster your argument? Please, grow up and come back to reality.

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            You do realize that you just referred to my scriptural quotation as a “fairy tale.” That verse from Genesis 29:1 may appear as a seemingly insignificant point of light in the night sky that you’re too tired to concern yourself with, but I spent much of my adult life obsessed with “the land of the sons of the east,” with the Hebrew word for east, “qadem,” having a double meaning with the word “kadem” meaning ancient. The same applies to the “fairy tale” of the garden of Eden that was planted in the east (Genesis 2:8), in ancient times.
            Perhaps there are more advanced civilizations that existed in an earlier epoch of the history of the universe and that tiny speck of light is a globular cluster of stars that refuse to fade out, remaining relevant to those who notice it, despite the enormous gap in distance and time.
            As for the sci-fi series Stargate SG-1, you would do well not to relegate it to the status of children’s entertainment, as it adheres strictly to military protocol, thus grounding the program firmly in reality (though the Air Force is not limited to terrestrial affairs as I’m sure you know it worked for “I Dream of Jeannie”)

          • C.B. Villeneuve

            Of course I am aware that I referred to the bible stories as fairy tales, because long ago I looked at all religions and came to the conclusion that’s all they were. I still don’t know if you believe in that stuff you are spouting out, or you are just trolling. Stargate and I dream of Jeannie? Give me a break!

          • mahershallelhashbaz

            L. O. L.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Anyone who used TV fantasy/sci-fi to justify any position, religious or scientific, is either playing you or is a dues-paying member of Wackadoodledom. I believe I correctly read the latter into his posts. But it is ever so entertaining.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

    It does not work for a laser beam. It does not work for a finite size mass. Look at the video,

    twitter(.)com/i/status/1088757000832499712
    … BS, by rigorous calculation.

  • http://mortran.blogspot.com/ Magister Mortran

    General Relativity does not allow for an event horizon to be crossed in the first place. Time comes to a standstill at the horizon. So billions of years in the rest of the universe would not be enough to cross it. Even by just watching “Interstellar” one would understand this.
    It is beyond my comprehension why “theoretical physicists” keep coming up with this pseudo-scientific nonsense.

    • dinkster

      That only applies for the observer. The people crossing experience time normally.

      • Lost in place

        I don’t see how time can slow to zero for the observer without the traveler experiencing the opposite effect. Time accelerating to near infinity. I think as you approach the horizon, you would see the time of the rest of the universe speed up. You would watch the black hole shrink from Hawking radiation at an accelerated pace, and it would shrink at a rate that outpaces your approach, finally disappearing before you ever reach the event horizon, leaving you hurtling past the location of the former singularity at nearly light speed. At least that’s what would happen if the Hawking radiation didn’t kill you, which I assume it would.

        • Stephan Vanhoek

          It would be such a tiny wavelength i doubt we would be able to interact with any radiations:

        • Michael Cleveland

          It wouldn’t be Hawking radiation that killed you. Consider star light. All energy entering from outside would be extremely blue-shifted, partly by gravity and again by the time dilation. One problem with your conjecture is that the traveler is at all times within the event horizon, and the no-escape clause in black hole rules means you can never again be outside the event horizon, so it can’t evaporate past you. Once inside the EH, your meeting with the singularity is inescapably ordained.

    • Mark Trevino

      Because withe out your so called “theoretical nonsense” we would not advance science and wouldn’t have relativity,or even have discovered “theoretically nonsensical” black holes. Just sayin.

    • Stephan Vanhoek

      It sells on the net, so integrity is no longer the requisite it once was

    • Erik Bosma

      The person entering a black hole would only seem to the observer to be stationary in time to the observer. However, our astronaut would experience many many years of time in crossing and who knows when he would come out – if at all.

      • Michael Cleveland

        I made that same mistake–twice. Truth is that the astronaut’s subjective time remains the same, so he passes the event horizon in his normal time, but the acceleration toward center makes for a very short trip, though he isn’t apt to notice because very quickly (or not,
        depending on the size of the black hole) tidal forces begin shredding him.

    • LobstaJohnson

      Incorrect. This is true for an outside observer. The person falling intro the black hole notices nothing unusual as the event horizon is crossed.

  • dinkster

    I’m all about the fuzzball black holes.

  • KickThatTheory

    The interesting thing is that a singularity’s gravitational centers are points so no matter how far you “fall” into a black hole the gravitational forces felt are always the same. This also means that provided that a singularity is just a point with infinite density it’s gravitational well could also technically be nearly infinite or infinite in depth relative to the fabric of space depending upon the effects of density on the depth of gravitational wells.

    This also means that more tests as to the effects of density on gravity wells need to be run because if a black hole’s gravity well is infinite in depth it could possibly have similar properties to the legendary Tipler cylinder, or Tipler time machine.

    If this is the case it would have extremely interesting consequences for the theories regarding the origin of the universe.

  • https://www.soundcloud.com/Artifex28 Artifex 28

    I do not see the travel possible at all. It’s not a curve through space-time to another. The original mass that formed the black hole “is there”.

    Remember that originally black holes were called “dark stars”. You wouldn’t even expect to travel by colliding a dark star.

    Small black holes, which are generated as a star collapses, are just the next step from neutron stars in terms of density.

    Large massive ones, like the Gargantua, can have low density, but still curve the space-time enough to create a singularity. It’s essentially an elephant on a plastic sheet – and after it has stretched enough, you’ve a singularity. Black hole is sort of a rip on the space-time that can be caused in numerous ways.

    Still – even if the black hole would be a massive one, you would simply enter “an area of no size” from the point of view of our Universe, where the original mass exists.

    If it wouldn’t be there, the space-time wouldn’t be curved and the black hole wouldn’t exist in the first place.

    There might be something on the other side, but it completely baffles me how it can be claimed that you could TRAVEL through one.

    Hawking’s radiation excluded, black holes are quite static. If they were dynamic systems, which eg. rapidly lose their mass, it would make sense to claim that there might be a white hole on the other side, spewing the “sucked” mass out. In other words – a wormhole.

    …however the only thing that would get out from one would be some elementary particle goo.

    • Erik Bosma

      Our very own ‘visible universe’ is a black hole inside which we all live and experience time at a certain rate.

      • https://www.soundcloud.com/Artifex28 Artifex 28

        And proof of that is exactly what?

        You could say that it’s because nothing gets out from our universe, but at the same time there are many local phenomenons that behave the same way within our universe. However, Hawking’s radiation is proven to vaporize black holes over time.

        There’s nothing to indicate that our whole unkverse would be fizzling energy out from this universe to another that’s ”outside our black hole”.

        And if the Hawking’s radiation wouldn’t apply to our ”universe sized black hole”, then the black holes aren’t the same.

        Another claim would be that the space-time exists only within our universe so the black holes within would be on a different dimension than the ”universe sized” one. They wouldn’t be the same.

        And as they aren’t the same, it’s nothing but a figment of imagination what the ”universe sized” would be.

    • Anthony Dean

      What if that mass was instead changed to dark matter as supermassive black holes are different beasts to stellar black holes and neutrons stars.

      If it were dark matter, it not only explains why they are dark, but also would allow mass to pass through them without any interaction. The spin of the black hole would relate to the angular momentum of the dark matter, and that would directly relate to the aperture size we see (aka the Schwarzschild radius) and its apparent mass.

      I think neutron stars are similar, but the matter acts as a plug of sorts, which is how the can emit jets without feeding like pulsars or emit massive magnetic fields like magnetars. We could prove this if we could prove neutron stars decay far faster than black holes, and stellar black holes decay far faster than supermassive black holes. And by decay I mean how fast the dark matter loses angualr momentum.

      Hence the dark matter idea, black holes (being mostly dark matter) would not interact with mass and not lose that momentum very easilly. Neutron stars on the other hand, that mass acts like a brake. Maybe gamma ray bursts are the dying gasp when there is not enough angular momentum to hold the mass of the neutron star any more and it explode out with some serious force.

      • https://www.soundcloud.com/Artifex28 Artifex 28

        I like the hypothesis of black holes that are formed by two different kinds of particles. After all, they’re so very different in density and size.

      • Archar

        This concept of a supermassive black hole made from a dark matter is very exciting. But it inevitably comes with a crucial question – did that conversion into dark matter stopped immediately after the creation of this black hole, or is the process still going? Because if it is, then the result wouldn’t be of any benefit for the traveler or the infalling spaceship..
        Only perhaps if the traveler’s complete information could be preserved and used ‘on the other side’ to reconstitute him in some kind of a ‘beam transporter’ as seen in Star Trek 😛

        • Michael Cleveland

          You don’t even know what dark matter is, so why this kind of pointless speculation? It’s just another form of word salad.

          • Archar

            Well, I agree with you that I know close to nothing about the nature and properties of the dark matter. But since you seem to be very privy to this phenomenon, please, enlighten us, Mr. Pointless speculation.

          • Michael Cleveland

            There is nothing to enlighten. You write of a connection between dark matter and black holes as if it were fact (your “crucial question”), when in fact, there is nothing currently known about either to make any such connection. As I said, word salad.

          • Archar

            Poor reply with poor arguments. I would discuss with you more but you seem to struggle with both logic and some aspects of astrophysics, so it would be wasteful.
            Just to make one thing clear – I wasn´t disparaging Anthony´s idea of a black hole consisting of dark matter by terming it “exciting”, as some of the primordial black holes are promising candidates for this. I was only arguing further the possibilities of a travel through it, as the original article similarly did. And for the following discussion, you can post any relevant question, even a “crucial” one.
            Enjoy more of your word salad.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Obviously you weren’t disparaging it. Quite the contrary, you seem to accept it without reservations. The original article is nonsense, unless you redefine the meaning of singularity. By definition, it’s not an aperture that can be passed through; it’s a dimensionless point. Gravitational tidal forces associated with the singularity are so great that any matter approaching it will be ripped apart, reduced to component particles, which are themselves annihilated at the singularity. The claim that a black hole might be “made of” dark matter contradicts everything that is known about black holes and their formation. What they are is well established, based on solid Physics, so I stand by my statement. Anthony’s suggestion, and your reply are both word salad, tossing around catch phrases and concepts that you don’t completely understand to impress each other. My suggestion: either stick with your TV sci-fi, or take a physics course or two.

          • Archar

            “The claim that a black hole might be “made of” dark matter contradicts everything that is known about black holes and their formation.”

            Oh really? And what about some of the Stephen Hawking´s work on primordial black holes (PBH) , MACHOs and quite recent observations by LIGO observatory on the black hole mergers? Given the estimation that the early universe´s total energy consisted of more than 60% from dark matter, these ideas cannot be easily ruled out. Is all your knowledge based only on one type/mechanism of gravitational collapse, starting from the collapse of Population III stars?

          • Michael Cleveland

            Whose estimates? You can’t project a percentage of total energy in dark matter when you can’t define dark matter in the first place and have no understanding of how it might interact with the matter and energy we do understand. No one knows what it is, so trying to connect it with black holes is purest unfounded speculation. It’s presence is not even described consistently. Depending on which source you read, it makes up variously between 23 percent and 99.5 percent of the matter and energy density in the Universe. Find a proper science-based connection, then offer up a hypothesis, get it accepted, and you can be justified in your excitement. In any event, the article and discussion deal with specific conjectures about super-massive black holes, and I fail to see what primordial black holes (if they exist at all) and LIGO have to do with it. The detection of gravitational waves from mergers offers a new way of observing, but has not provided anything that would alter our understanding of the nature of the beast. In fact, the very existence and success of LIGO are the result of predictions made by real science, not idle speculation about that nature.

          • Archar

            Estimates from data of the Wilkinson microwave anisotropy probe and Planck probe missions. They can be found on the NASA and CERN websites.
            Primordial black holes are assumed to form around 1s after the Big Bang, when overdense regions could undergo gravitational collapse. Details are discussed, for example, in a paper of Tomohiro Harada et al., from 2013.
            Gravitational waves detected by LIGO in 2016 led teams around Misao Sasaki, Simeon Bird and Sebastien Clesse to a judgement that the colliding black holes were of primordial origin.
            PBHs are thought to act as seeds of supermasive black holes, and also that they `hide` in dwarf galaxies and globular clusters.

    • Michael Cleveland

      No, the math has been done. There is no super-dense mass. All of the mass is compressed out of existence at the singularity, which may indeed be super dense, but it is by definition a true mathematical point, without dimension. Everything around it is space–probably not truly empty, since the hole will eventually draw in any matter around it, but not a solid mass.

      • https://www.soundcloud.com/Artifex28 Artifex 28

        Thanks, Michael!

        That was quite eye opening to me really.

        So essentially our whole space-time is a …sort of plastic sheet fabric. With enough mass on it, it curves out of existance, essentially poking a hole to it – which we perceive as a black hole. The mass isn’t any more at the point of the black hole, instead it’s a “space-time sink hole” which does …whom knows what. :)

        • Michael Cleveland

          I really hate the plastic sheet analogy, because it appears to use gravity to explain gravity, but that is one way of looking at it. Mass (hence gravity) distorts space/time. Here’s a better way to understand what happens. When a star with sufficient mass collapses, the gravitational field is so strong that it overcomes the resistance of the structure of the matter–the forces that give it form–and that matter ultimately crushes itself out of existence. We know that gravity also warps space/time. If the gravitational field is strong enough to collapse matter, it wraps space/time around itself in a closed (virtual) “shell,” for lack of a better word, essentially cutting it off from the rest of the Universe. If you are inside, you can see the outside, but there is no way to get there from here. If you shine a light up from the surface of the earth (for example), it is red-shifted by the gravitational field of the earth; it loses energy: the farther it travels, the more energy it loses until it is completely free of the earth’s gravitational influence (but then there is the rest of the solar system). If you could shine a light from the center of a black hole, at the distance we call the event horizon, it becomes infinitely red-shifted, i.e., it loses all of its energy, so frequency drops to zero and wavelength becomes infinite. To put it another way, the escape velocity becomes greater than the speed of light. Some scientists are uncomfortable with the idea of a singularity at the center of a black hole because it represents a true mathematical point of zero dimensions. The matter is gone, and only the gravity remains. The math says it should be there, but it wouldn’t be the only place math breaks down in extreme conditions. Certainly there is no way to achieve any direct observation, so we can only use our heads and the best mathematical tools we can formulate to arrive at best guesses.

          • https://www.soundcloud.com/Artifex28 Artifex 28

            Yeah, I meant space-time fabric as the “plastic sheet”. Essentially every location of that “2d sheet” is actually a 3D position. :)

            What I have understood is that you can actually have VERY little mass in terms of density, if it’s simply applied on a HUGE area, which will also cause a black hole. Density of a such black hole can very, very light.

            Having wave length of zero = there’s no wave length = there’s no wave either, since it’s just infinitely stretched. But isn’t that all from our perspective? It indeed wouldn’t be a black hole if we could measure something else.

          • Michael Cleveland

            I have to say that what I wrote was not very eloquently expressed. Fatigue does that, and I know I shouldn’t try to write these things late at night. In any event, the wavelength isn’t zero, but frequency drops to zero. The infinite wavelength/zero frequency is just another way of stating that the energy content of the original wave has decreased to zero. I understand the plastic sheet in 3D analogy, but you’re supposed to see the sheet distorted (“sagging”) in the presence of mass, hence whether in 2D or 3D, it is using gravity to explain gravity: the greater the mass, the greater the sag (the deeper the hole). It’s just an unfortunate way of expressing the concept graphically. As for mass and density, a black hole begins with the mass of a star (about 15 to 20 times the mass of our own sun before material is lost to nova; or about 3 solar masses in the collapsing remnant), gravity great enough to establish an escape velocity > c. It takes that mass to form a black hole. Escape velocity outside the event horizon is < c; equal to c at the event horizon; exponentially greater than c as you near the singularity. There is no density inside a black hole. It is made up only of curved space-time.

  • Stephan Vanhoek

    Still seems like nonesense to me, the velocity would turn you into plasma long before you even got close. I don’t think she tried to learn if you could do it, she just tried to prove you could, very bad science, but it sells/

  • Kurt Stocklmeir

    these are my theories – there are little worm holes all through space – virtual particle anti particle gets around worm hole – 1 particle goes through worm hole – the particle can do things like travel through time and go to parallel universes – there is entanglement between the particles – past present and future can interact and parallel universes can interact – this is more simple inside a black hole or around a star like a black hole – particles inside a black hole and particles around a star like a black hole let past present and future interact to an extreme and parallel universes interact to an extreme Kurt Stocklmeir

  • Erik Bosma

    Not only could we go for a trip through space, we would then also go through a trip through time. Who knows when we would wind up.

  • https://about.me/nicholasmeyler Nicholas Meyler

    So, all the times Science Fiction readers asked Hawking if we could travel through Black holes backwards in Time or to distant parts of the Universe, and Hawking said “No, you would be crushed to spaghetti”, he was actually lying.

    So, Scientists are all liars. Anyhow, this was figured out mathematically in 1962 by Roy Kerr, so this is really more “fake news”…. Liberal media and Scientists, at it, once again. You just can’t trust anyone, can you?

    • G. D. Smith

      What the f are you babbling about?

    • okiejoe

      There is a difference between lying and just being wrong.

      • https://about.me/nicholasmeyler Nicholas Meyler

        Sometimes there is. Sometimes there isn’t. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

        • Michael Cleveland

          And you’re getting your mushrooms where?

          • https://about.me/nicholasmeyler Nicholas Meyler

            From your mother

  • Mike Richardson

    Interesting idea, but even if using a black hole as a type of wormhole were possible, there are some pretty practical issues with any type of short-cut that allows faster-than-light travel. Folks better at physics than myself have looked at the issue, and concluded that due to different frames of reference, faster-than-light travel could create paradoxes where a traveler, after a journey to a distant star, would apparently be able to return to the point of origin before they ever left. If faster-than-light travel is possible, it would also mean time travel is possible, along with the potential for paradoxes. This seems pretty unlikely.

    While faster-than-light travel, even with warp drive and wormholes might not be possible, Einstein’s theory of special relativity does not rule out travel at close to the speed of light. The speed of light may be the ultimate speed limit, but at speeds above 90% of light speed, relativistic effects slow time from the perspective of any starship’s crew, making travel to other stars possible within a human lifetime. Of course, there are problems with having to shield a ship traveling that fast from impacts with even interstellar dust and gas, as well as the fact that the object’s mass increases with velocities approaching the speed of light. Still, these are engineering problems, and not prohibited by any physical laws of the universe. For science fiction that works within these parameters, I’d suggest less Star Trek and Star Wars, and more reading of authors such as Alastair Reynolds and Charles Pellegrino.

    • Anthony Dean

      I think there is a way past this, firstly faster than light travel is impossible as nothing can travel faster than light (as special relativity core principle suggests). However thats only for moving frame of reference, if we are accelerating frame of reference however things like time dilation does not apply (i.e. where general relativity applies instead).

      As you are accelerating towards the black hole, I think you would relatively compress spacetime to the point you experience the fall as though you were going through a hole. Maybe for supermassive black holes the aperture is large enough to fit the spaceship.

      I think you might also need to aproach the black hole at its poles, because if you went it at the equator as it were you would have the greatest sheering stresses. Thats if the black hole acts like a tornado/hurricane vortex – so best angle of attack is via the eye of the storm as it were.

      Problem nobody in this article seems to have addressed, is were is the mass that makes these beasts live, does it look like a star behind the “singularity”, is it even matter, or could it be some of the missing anti-matter (which would be bad) or dark matter (which would be good) as that doesn’t interact with matter.

      • Mike Richardson

        It’s been theorized that a rapidly spinning black hole would have a distorted event horizon bulging out at the equator, such that an entry in this region would be far enough away from the singularity to avoid severe tidal stresses and being torn apart. There’d still be the issue of radiation from the accretion disc along the equator, though.

        Approaching the poles, however, would entail its own problems. Extremely energetic jets have been observed jetting from what are believed to be the polar areas of some black holes, so you’d be fried by radiation trying to reach the event horizon there.

        As for the singularity, nobody knows what it would actually be like, and the nature of a black hole is such that we could probably never relay information out of the hole to answer that question. Better radio and X-ray telescopes are getting us closer to knowing what the environment around an event horizon would look like, but there’s just no way to peer beyond that to the singularity. Do a search for the Event Horizon Telescope and you can learn a bit more about the international effort to create a very long baseline array for imaging its namesake of a distant black hole.

        • Michael Cleveland

          I guess my question about spinning black holes is “what’s spinning?” There is no remaining matter, no mass, only singularity and a virtual boundary that marks the distance from the singularity at which the escape velocity is equal to the speed of light. What is there to spin?

          • Mike Richardson

            It is kind of a mind bender, but the space time around the singularity is what’s warped and spinning, such that the event horizon may be distorted and bulging outward in the middle. Pulsars give us a clue about this spinning, as the large stars that collapse to form them (not big enough to collapse into a black hole, but big enough to explode in a supernova) spin up to thousands of rotations per second as they contract. The best example of this would be a figure skater spinning, who speeds up the spin as she draws in her arms — the massive stars would have had some rotation prior to supernova and collapse, but as they contract down to a tiny neutron star or into a singularity, that spin rate would drastically increase, pulling space time and dragging it as the gravity becomes focused on a much smaller and faster rotating object.

          • Michael Cleveland

            OK, let’s say for the sake of argument that the singularity is spinning and dragging space-time with it (still issues with that, because there is nothing there to spin, but so be it). The event horizon is not a surface, it’s a distance from center, a mere location on a gradient of gravitational intensity, so there is nothing to bulge. Distorted space-time does not form any sort of corporeal “entity” that can be subject to centrifugal force, so there really is nothing either to cause or result in a bulge. There is no analogy with neutron stars or pulsars because those all involve highly compressed matter, but the singularity, by definition, is a dimensionless point in space (or space-time). The intensity of the gravity in a collapsing star of sufficient size crushes matter out of existence because there is no force in the structure of that matter that can stand against the gravity. I can wrap my head around a lot of things, but there has to be some underlying physical principle to hang it on, and while the usual escape route says the rules are probably different with singularities, the rules outside of the singularity and the consequences of the black hole’s formation, both within and outside, must still be observed and recognized. Bottom line, it doesn’t wash.

          • Mike Richardson

            Well, I don’t claim to be an astrophysicist, so I’m just giving you my best layman’s explanation of what I’ve read and could attempt to understand. Maybe you’ve got a better background in this than I, but from what I’ve read on the topic, this seems to be what the consensus view among the experts is at this time.

            It’s kind of like the issue of faster-than-light travel in science fiction using wormholes, hyperspace, or warp drive. None of those violate relativity because they don’t involve speeding up an object to faster-than-light in this universe. But do a search of actual physicists responding to questions about whether or not such FTL “cheats” were feasible, and they’ll explain that it violates causality. Now I get that you could get information (and people or cargo) from point A to point B prior to the event being witnessed at point B, or a hypothetical point C in a different frame of reference via telescope. But my mind just starts spinning when I attempt to understand the explanation that somehow you would be able to travel backwards in time. To me, if an event happens at point A, regardless of when you find out about it, it’s already happened. There’s no way to go faster than light by any means that would put you back there in time to prevent it from happening. Yet, I’m not someone who spent a lifetime studying physics and can’t begin to offer a mathematical proof showing that the physicists explaining this principal are wrong. So unless there’s some compelling arguments by other learned experts in physics (which I haven’t seen) countering the causality violation points, I have to reluctantly accept that my favorite science fiction is more likely fantasy with regards to FTL travel.

            But again, you may understand these things better than I, and have more reason to doubt the physicists’ models of black holes. Perhaps further studies by the Event Horizon Telescope will help resolve some of these questions.

          • Michael Cleveland

            I would never promote the possibility of backward travel in time, for a very simple reason that no one ever addresses. If you travel back in time, you would have to exist in contradictory states to do so. To make yourself present in a previous time, you have to go there, your physical body must move backward in time while your consciousness and all physical processes continue to move forward, as would any device controlling the sequencing of travel, at least for the duration of that travel. You would be operating in opposing states of entropy. Very awkward. As for FTL, you don’t have to go even so far as causality violations, although those would be a consequence. The relationship between velocity, energy expenditure, mass, and time make FTL an absolute impossibility (Cory B. Goode and his tachyon drives notwithstanding). Even achieving c with any kind of mass is impossible. If you understand Lorentz-Fitzgerald in any depth, those equations eliminate all possibility of workarounds, and they have over a century of confirmations to back them up. Other possibilities, like wormholes, are still pure speculation. As for black holes, I have far more questions than answers, but I would like to see some of the apparent contradictions addressed before I relinquish the Physics I know for “facts” that seem grounded in little more than out-of-this-world speculation (there is nothing about black hole physics that would permit the kind of nonsense this article is promoting). Especially for articles of the nature of this one, never trust a science writer who’s being paid by the word specifically to appeal to geeks like us. As my dearly departed Father used to say, “If it smells, it sells.”

          • Michael Cleveland

            Shame on me. In my typing hurry, I misspelled Lorentz. I know better, even if my fingers don’t.

      • Michael Cleveland

        What you say about inertial (moving) frames is simply not true. Special Relativity, time dilation and limits to velocity very definitely apply to inertial frames of reference.

    • Michael Cleveland

      There would be no paradoxes associated with this kind of travel because you could never use it to get to a place where paradox would be relevant, almost certainly not in this universe, because there are no known possible “white holes,” unexplained sources of influx of energy and matter.

      • Mike Richardson

        I wasn’t limiting this to just black holes — I was just relaying what physicists have said that would rule out wormholes and warp drive. I’d love to think such things might be possible, but the issue of causality violations appears to rule them out. But you have a point about black holes, as we still have no idea what happens to anything falling into them. Certainly the absence of anything resembling a white hole pours cold water on the idea that they have exit points, at least anywhere in our visible universe.

        • Michael Cleveland

          There is one possible answer to the problem of the white hole: the Universe itself. A black hole is closed off from the rest of this Universe, with a singularity at its center. There is no reason to believe it should have any access to any other point of entry back into this Universe. The Big Bang begins with a singularity, etc., etc. All those new universes popping into existence every time a star collapses with enough mass. It is, at the very least, an entertaining idea.

  • Ticking Bomb

    The devil hides in the assumptions. Computer simulations can and will probably always be tweaked as much as possible to comply with far-fetched objectives. Not accounting for stellar objects like stars and dust, or the effects of radiation, seems like too big of an assumption. But I won’t completely refute or discard their findings. It could be possible if the black hole is large enough such that objects in it are far between and radiation minimal. Also, we must keep in mind that sometimes the most turbulent or chaotic places/ events, when observed from the outside, turn out to be the most nominal and peaceful when observed from within.

  • Anthony Dean

    What if that mass was instead changed to dark matter as supermassive black holes are different beasts to stellar black holes and neutrons stars.

    If it were dark matter, it not only explains why they are dark, but also would allow mass to pass through them without any interaction. The spin of the black hole would relate to the angular momentum of the dark matter, and that would directly relate to the aperture size we see (aka the Schwarzschild radius) and its apparent mass.

    I think neutron stars are similar, but the matter acts as a plug of sorts, which is how the can emit jets without feeding like pulsars or emit massive magnetic fields like magnetars. We could prove this if we could prove neutron stars decay far faster than black holes, and stellar black holes decay far faster than supermassive black holes. And by decay I mean how fast the dark matter loses angualr momentum.

    Hence the dark matter idea, black holes (being mostly dark matter) would not interact with mass and not lose that momentum very easilly. Neutron stars on the other hand, that mass acts like a brake. Maybe gamma ray bursts are the dying gasp when there is not enough angular momentum to hold the mass of the neutron star any

    more and it explode out with some serious force.

    So no need at all for a singularity, Schwarzschild radius and apparent mass of the black hole is related to angular momentum of something we can’t interact with – all we see is a hole, to some other part of spacetime, we would have no clue if thats part of our universe or some other universe though only that there is spacetime on both sides.

  • Anthony Dean

    Could also be gamma ray bursts, are the “white hole” side of a supernova that created a stella black hole (aka the ejected matter), which leaves behind the dark matter with angular momentum leaving the hole.

    Since the rotation is in one direction, light can enter one way only – which is why we couldn’t see anything through a black hole – so first person entering one would still need quite the leap of faith and may never find their way back home via a return black hole pointing in the opposite direction.

    Maybe black holes are the subway system that links everything together – dark matter is in some way the tracks.

    My guestimate anyway.

  • Tyler S Hardy

    The book was by Andy Weir. Kip Thorne advised on the movie.

  • Glaisne

    Of course you first have to get to such a black hole, thousands of light years away, before attempting to travel through it.

  • GORT

    …Initiate Rambling…

    Beware any theory that relies on terms like “infinitely dense” and “singularity” – those are meaningless fillers that expose fundamental flaws in whatever mathematical formulas were used to produce them.

    In my unscientific opinion, the center of a black hole is pure energy, which exists due to Einstein’s most famous equation. Question: Why would matter not be converted to energy given the extreme environment around a black hole?

    If a black hole is actually a ball of energy rather than matter, then terms like “infinite density” and “singularity” strike me as being completely irrelevant, in addition to being meaningless.

    To relate my ramblings to this article, I have to say that pure energy probably won’t allow matter to exist inside its event horizon.

    …Rambling terminated…

    [==*==]

    • Michael Cleveland

      “Question: why would matter not be….etc, etc.?”
      Counter question: why would it be? What is known of black hole dynamics does not support any such idea. A black hole is just highly (gravitationally) distorted but essentially empty space.

      • GORT

        Are you suggesting then that no matter whatsoever is converted into energy in or around a black hole? Seriously? I’d enjoy reading your sources on that theory.

        A black hole being “essentially empty space” is a new one to me. We’re surrounded by it, and yet we aren’t under the constant threat of spaghettification. Seems odd, to say the least. Since you don’t appear to be just speculating, and you took exception to mine, please provide sources proving that black holes do not convert matter to energy, and that they are “essentially empty space”. Thanks.

        [==*==]

        • Michael Cleveland

          I’m not speculating. My books are all in storage, but any physics book that deals with black holes will explain that they are just highly distorted space/time. If the black hole is large enough, you could pass through the event horizon without noticing any change. You just wouldn’t be able to get out again. Tidal stretching (spaghettification) occurs at some point along the journey, but where depends on how large the hole is: immediately or early on in small or moderate sized holes, later in super-massive black holes. Matter is eventually pulled apart into its component parts, but I’ve never seen any source that suggested it was converted to energy, though as matter is stripped to its component parts, some binding energy might be released, but that also is red-shifted to zero by the gravitational field. No one knows what happens at the singularity (though annihilation is the usual take), so if it does happens, that would be your most likely bet, but probably not.

  • okiejoe

    If you could get to a large black hole you wouldn’t need it because you could already travel half-way across the galaxy.

    • C.B. Villeneuve

      Well said! Some scientists and science popularizers seem to get a big orgasm talking about their fantasies of travelling through black holes. They have been watching too much Stargate 1 before their brain matured.

      • mahershallelhashbaz

        “They have been watching too much Stargate 1 before their brains matured.”

        If you’ve ever seen Stargate SG-1, you would know that they travel through portals established by an advanced alien civilization, not black holes. I think I’m the only commentator on this blog (along with you and another smarty-pants) that doesn’t have a degree in physics. Yet there you are suggesting that these commentators are sci-fi geeks, thereby randomly applying the same template that you presumed apply also to me.

      • Michael Cleveland

        I am far more inclined to attribute those fantasies to hack science writers who are trying to appeal to people who may be willing to spend money to read their blather, people who have no discrimination between said blather and real science. This article case in point.

        • C.B. Villeneuve

          Michio Kaku is ” an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science (science communicator). ” I thought he was interesting, until I saw him peddling that idea that we might be able to travel through black holes. He never said how to get there in the first place.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Yeah, willing to throw in a few scientists, though in those cases, I use the term guardedly.

  • A. Nonnie Mouse

    But you would still have to get to that supermassive black hole, which almost by definition is going to be light years away from anything.

  • nik

    One black hole being ”softer” than another, is like the difference between being crushed by an elephant sitting on you, or being crushed by a steam roller.
    You’re still crushed!
    A black hole, is not a ‘hole’ its the most dense solid in the universe. Therefore any speculation about ‘passing through it’ is utterly without merit.
    It may serve as a slingshot for space travel, as the solar systems various planets have been used for the various space shots, but it would be a very dangerous game.
    It would be rather like walking the rim of an active volcano, blindfolded, almost certain to lead to calamity.

    • Michael Cleveland

      But it’s not solid. It’s empty space–space wrapped around itself by a gravity so powereful that the escape velocity is greater than c.

      • nik

        You are misinformed.
        See, Artifex 28 below.

        • Michael Cleveland

          No, I’m very well informed, and you can be, too, if you read real sources of information. The event horizon is not a real surface, it’s a virtual surface, the distance from center at which any light reaching that far from the inside loses all of its energy. Gravity red-shifts light until it reaches a frequency of zero and infinite wavelength. You can find this information in any legitimate text on black holes.

          • nik

            The event horizon may well be virtual, but the centre of the black hole is the most dense solid in the universe.
            However, its also possible that our whole universe is virtual, us included, but as we are part of it, to us, its very real.

          • Michael Cleveland

            I think you’ve missed something. A Neutron star collapses to a state of dense matter, but it’s gravity is insufficient to overcome the structural integrity of the matter. A black hole is formed when the collapsing star has sufficient gravity to overcome those forces and cause the matter to collapse completely. There is no next stage of density. If gravity is strong enough to form a black hole, the star collapses to a singularity, which is not dense matter. The matter is completely annihilated so only gravity remains. A singularity is a purely mathematical point, dimensionless. There is no place for matter of any density. Our Universe is not virtual, but perhaps the Universe itself is the white hole on the other side of a singularity. There are arguments to be made against that, but it’s an interesting idea.

          • nik

            Gravity is a phenomena caused by matter. Without matter, you cannot have gravity. If there was a hole, there would be no matter, and therefore no gravity.
            You can prove anything you like with mathematics, it just depends on the initial assumptions you make.
            If your assumptions are wrong, then all else will be wrong, regardless of the elegance of your mathematics.
            ”If the observed facts do not support the theory, then the theory is wrong.”
            The number of times that I have seen a comment, when new observed facts do not support the theories, and scientists have commented, that they will have to re-evaluate their theories, and their mathematical models, has occurred frequently, over the last few years.
            It probably stems from their addiction to Einstein space.
            A lot of Einsteins work was very effective, but his initial assumptions were wrong, so his theories can only work within those limits.
            This is why scientists are becoming more and more desperate, because their theories are becoming more and more irrational, while they struggle to fit their theories around the observed facts, mostly unsuccessfully.
            Some years ago, some scientists postulated that our universe may be entirely virtual, because some of the equations that describe our universe, are IDENTICAL to those of holograms.
            They also observed that any technology sufficiently advanced would automatically try to produce a virtual universe, so there may be many virtual universes, which may be why calculations produce answers that indicate multiple universes.

  • Nandu

    Traveling in a speed of light… What about mass it will become infinity

  • tiredsucker

    If the Black Hole is ‘feeding’, at the edge of the Event Horizon the gravity will rip apart atoms and heat the surrounding gases to millions of degrees. How is a human and/or the craft going to be affected by such gravity? The same way all other material is affected; by being torn down into a particle soup and being destroyed by immense heat. This story deals with being past the EH, but to get past it one has to confront it. Going into a BH is sheer sci-fi nonsense.

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  • oliver kirkland

    this might sound rather outrageous, but what if, in a black hole, a “rip in spacetime” was another universe entirely? Another dimension even? would that even be possible at all?

    • Michael Cleveland

      Not the black hole itself, but there has been discussion of the need for all of that collapsing matter to go “somewhere.” It makes no sense that it should reappear in this universe (and there are no real candidates for “white holes” in ours), but there have been proposals suggesting that black holes “calve” other universes at the singularity, that our Universe may have had such an origin. It’s not possible for the black hole itself because there is no way to move around inside a black hole. Every increment of radius toward the singularity is a new event horizon, so that it is impossible to move away from center, or even along a vector that has an “away” component. The escape velocity at the event horizon is the speed of light; with every increment closer to the event horizon, gravity increases, so the escape velocity increases. Pass the event horizon and there is only one way to go: down into the singularity. You wouldn’t be able to travel there because by the time you got there you would be a string of disassembled particles, but no one really knows what–if anything–is on the “other side.”

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