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What would happen if it were possible to reached the singulatary of a black hole?
- Doug Sluga (age 12)
Great question. It would depend a bit on the size of the black
hole, but in all likelihood the main thing you would notice is that you
would be stretched. This is pretty easy to understand. Suppose you were
falling into the black hole feet first. The closer you are to the
center, the stronger the pull of gravity would be. Since your feet are
closer than your head, the force pulling your feet inward would be
bigger than the force pulling your head, and it would seem to you that
you were being stretched out. You would also notice the light from
distant stars change color as you approached the "event horizon" of the
black hole (this is the closest distance from the center of the hole
that you can get and still escape).
As for what it would look like as you got near the center, many
scientists believe that space twisting around would let you literally
see the back of your own head! For some videos of what this might look
like, check out Michigan Tech's Virtual Black Hole Tour
The issue of what it's like once you've entered the singularity
itself is still pretty up in the air. There's a lot of theories, but no
one really knows for sure.
(republished on 07/19/06)
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