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What happens if you fall into a Black hole?

Updated on November 12, 2015

Black holes

A black hole is an object in space that contains so much mass concentrated in it that nothing, not even light can escape its gravitational pull.

There are three different types of Black holes divided with respect to mass and size.The smallest black holes are known as ‘Primordial black holes’. This type of black hole has mass of that of a large mountain but size of a single atom. The medium sized black holes are called ‘Stellar black holes’ as they have masses similar to that of stars. They are most common types of black holes. Their masses can be up to twenty times the mass of our Sun within a radius of about 10 miles. The largest black holes are known as ‘Supermassive black holes'. Their masses are greater than combined masses of 1 million Suns and radius of almost that of our Solar system. Scientists believe that they reside at the center most galaxies including our own, the Milky Way galaxy.

Black holes have a theoretical boundary known as event horizon. Once anything or anyone crosses this boundary there is no force in the universe that can save them from falling into the black hole. That’s why black holes are objects in space that you definitely might want to avoid. But lets say you are very curious and want to find out what lies inside a black hole. So you take your spaceship and plan a trip towards a black hole, what will happen when you come close to it?

Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole
Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole | Source

What happens next?

For a stellar black hole (e.g. one similar to the mass of our Sun), the tidal forces are large even outside the event horizon. This is because the event horizon is smaller, so you are closer to the singularity. The gravitational pull on your feet feels a stronger pull than your head, so you feel stretched. As the tidal forces gets stronger and you feel even more stretched and you will be ripped apart long before you cross the event horizon.

For a supermassive black hole, the tidal forces aren’t very large because you cross the event horizon well before you reach the singularity. So imagine that you are travelling towards a supermassive black hole. What happens when you fall into it? In this case you won't feel any gravitational forces and you will be in a state of free fall (i.e. you will feel weightless) where every part of your body will be pulled in the same way along with your spaceship. But as you get closer to the center of the back hole where singularity lies, tidal forces will increase and you start to feel stretched and eventually you will be ripped apart by the tidal forces.

What do you see inside?

When you are inside the event horizon and falling in, do you see anything interesting? Well you can see what’s going on outside since light from outside can still reach you. You will see distorted images due to bending of light. But no one can see you from outside since light from you can’t escape the event horizon. Once you are inside the event horizon there is no way to avoid the singularity. At this point resistance is completely futile, so you might want to enjoy the ride before your unfortunate future rips you apart. Some scientists believe that the singularity inside a black hole is a portal to another universe. If that’s true, then you or whatever is left of you anyway will probably end up in another universe! Crazy ha?

What does your friend in another spaceship far away from the black hole see?

Your friend Joey is waiting for you at a safe distance from the black hole. When you start to get closer to the event horizon she watches you moving slower. In fact, she will see you frozen in the event horizon forever. But you will definitely cross the event horizon and face your unfortunate future. Then why does she see you frozen in the event horizon? Well, as you get closer to the event horizon, the light from you takes longer to reach Joey (the light is redshifted). When you move past the event horizon the light from you will stay stuck in the event horizon and will never reach Joey to know that you are facing your death already.

Time literally moves slower near the event horizon than the place where Joey is waiting. Lets say instead of going past the event horizon you plan to take your spaceship and orbit the event horizon for a while. When you come back you will see that Joey has aged much more than you have!

No one really knows what he or she will see inside a black hole. One can only speculate. What do you think you will see inside a black hole? Tell us in the comments below.

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