BLACK HOLES: AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY
Written By Manish Avishkar Dhatrak, Cosmofluencer (Batch 1)
What is a black hole?
A black hole is a place in space where the gravitational pull is so strong that even light cannot get out. The strength of gravity is high because of matter getting squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen only when the life of a star comes to an end.
Black holes are regions of space-time where gravity is stronger as compared to any object in the expanding universe.
Because no light can get out, people can’t see black holes with naked eyes. They are invisible. However, space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. The special tools can see how stars that are very close to black holes act differently than other stars.
How are black holes born?
The most commonly known way of a black hole formation is by stellar death. As stars reach the ends of their lives, most will inflate, lose mass, and then cool to form white dwarfs. But the largest of these fiery bodies, those at least 10 to 20
times as massive as our own sun, are destined to become either super-dense neutron stars or so-called stellar mass ‘black holes’.
In their final stages, enormous stars explode forming a supernova.. Such a burst flings star matter out into space but leaves behind the stellar core. While the star was alive, nuclear fusion created a constant outward push that balanced the inward pull of gravity from the star’s own mass. However, in the stellar remnants of a supernova, there are no longer forces to oppose that gravity, so the star core begins to collapse in.
If its mass collapses into an infinitely small point, a black hole is born. The mass of our own sun gives black holes their powerful gravitational pull by packing all of that bulk into such a tiny point. Thousands of these stellar mass black holes may lurk within our own Milky Way Galaxy.
In short, black holes are massive giants of gravity that bend space-time because of their incredibly dense centers, also known as singularities.
When a star dies, it collapses inward rapidly towards its center. As it collapses, the star explodes into a Supernova (A catastrophic explosion of its outer material).
The dying star continues to collapse until it becomes a Singularity (Singularity consists of zero volume and infinite density).
It is the seemingly impossible contradiction that causes a black hole to form.
Also, inside a black hole the distances are much smaller which makes the distance between the event horizon and singularity almost equal to zero.
The extreme density of the new singularity pulls everything towards it, including space-time.
In physical science, Space-time is a single concept that recognizes the union of space and time. This was first proposed by the mathematician Hermann Minkowski in the year 1908 as a way to reformulate Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (1905).
Thus, this entire phenomenon contributes towards the birth of a black hole.
What would happen if you fall into a black hole?
If you leapt heroically into a stellar mass black hole, your body would be subjected to a process called ‘spaghettification’. The black hole’s gravitational force would compress you from head to toe, while stretching you at the same time.
What exactly is spaghettification?
In astrophysics, spaghettification is the tidal effect caused by strong gravitational fields. When falling towards a black hole, for example, an object is stretched in the direction of the black hole and compressed perpendicular to it as it falls. In effect, the object can be distorted into a long, thin version of its undistorted shape, as though being stretched like spaghetti.
The curved line in the diagram represents a section of theblack hole surface. In the left hand drawing, an astronaut’s height and width correspond as expected. As the astronauts move closer to the center of the black hole, they experience slight compression horizontally and elongation vertically. In the right hand image, the astronaut is closer, hence the compression and elongation of their form are even more dramatic.
Here’s something to think about though.
Most of the black holes are unable to differentiate between matter and light.
And we also know that black holes are formed due to huge concentration of matter into a tiny space.
Then WHAT IF we concentrate light into a tiny space??
Will it give birth to a black hole or form something else?
Let’s leave this question up to you. Share your opinions in the comments below!
For more details on black holes, check out this video: