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Space Science

What Would It Look Like To Fall Into a Black Hole? 154

CNETNate writes "A new video simulation developed by Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, on New Scientist today, shows what you might see on your way towards a black hole's crushing central singularity. Hamilton and Polhemus built a computer code based on the equations of Einstein's general theory of relativity, and the video produced allows the viewer to follow the fate of an imaginary observer on an orbit that swoops down into a giant black hole weighing 5 million times the mass of the sun, about the same size as the hole in the centre of our galaxy. The research could help physicists understand the apparently paradoxical fate of matter and energy in a black hole."
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What Would It Look Like To Fall Into a Black Hole?

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @05:15PM (#27436667) Homepage Journal
    ...and a finite circumference. An observer falling towards the singularity would feel the local gradient in the gravitational field increase as they fall, probably to the point where staying in one piece becomes a challenge. This would go on for a long time from their POV.
  • The other view (Score:5, Interesting)

    by t3sser4ct ( 1522605 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:08PM (#27437351)
    If you were falling into a black hole, I think it would be far more interesting to do so while facing away from the hole, as this would theoretically (according to relativity) allow you to witness the remaining life of the universe played out at a greatly accelerated rate.
  • Re:In other words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:12PM (#27437389) Journal

    This was probably rendered on a modern laptop.

    After finding this website [], I would say you are correct.

    There is also a "Step by Step into a Black Hole" [] of similar images as the video in TFA. Worth looking at if this is an interest.

    I also found a cool animation of a simulated "Flight through a Wormhole" [].

    It all just seems basic animation. Cool, but nothing really ground breaking.

    I imagine that the models used to base the animation on could have taken some resources.

    P.S. I would hope the comment you replied to was a failed attempt at humour. Surely he was jesting!

  • by garlicbready ( 846542 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:46PM (#27437855)
    This might be completely wrong

    I always thought that if you could see the outside universe as you were falling in the outside would appear to be moving faster and faster (from an inside perspective) the closer you got towards the center of the singularity. (effectively skipping ahead into the future faster and faster)

    since quite a lot of junk falls into a black hole especially over the period of the universe's lifetime, you'd probably see all sorts of large amounts of crap following in behind you at a tremendous speed (stars etc) until it got close enough to be affected by the same space time distortion, but never quite catching up to your point

    from an outside perspective if you could see what was happening beyond the event horizon, the stuff falling in would appear to move slower and slower the closer it got towards the center never quite reaching the center point
    which makes me wonder if someone falling into one of these things would actually reach the end of time itself a lot more quickly than everyone else on the outside (assuming there is such a thing)
  • Re:In other words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:29PM (#27438345)

    Depends on the size of the black hole. For a large black hole you would make it past the event horizon before the gravitational gradient is strong enough to tear you apart.

  • Re:In other words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:45PM (#27438539) Journal
    You're quite correct that making a video and sending a probe are two entirely different things. I somehow doubt that the video took a few hundred million to make, while still providing a potentially useful visualization of something that I somehow doubt we'll witness first hand.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.