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What Would It Look Like To Fall Into A Black Hole?
April 3, 2009 5:55 PM   Subscribe

New Scientist looks at what it would be like to actually fall into a black hole.
posted by panboi (31 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazingly enough, this New Scientist article really does deliver on its promise of showing you what it would be like to fall into a black hole. Of course, you can get the same feeling from reading any other New Scientist article, too.
posted by koeselitz at 6:04 PM on April 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Huh. I figured there'd be more cute robots. You know, and Robert Forster.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:10 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why are New Scientist videos so painfully small?
posted by tybeet at 6:13 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't really get this article. The video shouldn't be watched without reading the accompanying text, what is the red grid in the black space where light can't escape (black because light can't reach your eyes)? What does it represent? Why does it seem to split up and then form two radiating poles? What the hell is the brightly colored grid opposite the red grid at the end?

But the text doesn't explain any of that either.

And I think it's also a bad idea to compare the simulated black hole to the one that is likely to be at the center of our galaxy, but then use an un-centered image of a galaxy as the focal point of the video. It's made worse because the imposed image on the bottom left shows the observer circling and approaching the center of the black hole, but the rotation of the backdrop doesn't seem to reflect that.

Am I watching it all wrong? What's up?
posted by Science! at 6:17 PM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


That is the friggin' definition of ironically eponysterical.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:18 PM on April 3, 2009


[... check on bet placed with self after reading FPP ...]

The number was 2.

When I think about the unfathomable scale of the universe and its forces, it renews my conviction that homo sapiens is not the central character in The Plot, if there is one. No sane Creator would fashion that disproportionate a backdrop.

Nice post. Thanks.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:21 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


also, Mr. Science, I agree re your read of the vid.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:21 PM on April 3, 2009


"The rest is still a mystery..." WHAT? I really wanted to see flying ponies and watches running backwards.
posted by not_on_display at 6:24 PM on April 3, 2009


That was probably the fastest, most probable meaning of life I have ever run into.
posted by parmanparman at 6:41 PM on April 3, 2009


Falling into a black hole is really confusing.
posted by jnaps at 6:42 PM on April 3, 2009


New Scientist is latin for stupidology.
posted by humannaire at 6:51 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, try imagining the video is narrated by Tracy Jordan. It's effin hilarious.
posted by humannaire at 6:56 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


But what if you fell in backwards?



Or you had your eyes closed?



Or even had some form of visual impairment?



This video is ableist.



For shame New Scientist, for shame!
posted by Sova at 7:01 PM on April 3, 2009


I've heard that falling into a black hole instantly transports you back in time to April 1st, 2009.

Which, by the way, is also the date this article and video was posted on the web by New Scientist.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:09 PM on April 3, 2009


I've heard that falling into a black hole instantly transports you back in time to April 1st, 2009.

Wow, New Scientist's April Fool's posts are, compared to their daily posts, exactly like The Onion's April Fool's posts, in that the odd cannot be readily distinguished from the common.
posted by Science! at 7:21 PM on April 3, 2009


They forgot the pretty flashes you hallucinate as the gamma radiation cooks your brain.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:22 PM on April 3, 2009


Everyone knows that when you fall into a black hole you come out on the other side at an erotic cake shop.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:39 PM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Trippy, bro.
posted by Autarky at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2009


This is kind of off topic, but does anyone remember that old cartoon where the characters could physically carry around a two dimensional hole and place it anywhere convenient, such as a bank vault or the floor where their mother in law was about to walk? I think scientists should devote more time to developing this kind of hole and less to the question of what happens when you fall into a 'real' black hole.
posted by digsrus at 8:36 PM on April 3, 2009


Just dropped in to make sure the New Scientist haters have had their say. From the first comment. Carry on.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:47 PM on April 3, 2009


Effigy2000: "I've heard that falling into a black hole instantly transports you back in time to April 1st, 2009"

..or 1979, when Disney's movie The Black Hole was released, it shows a similar effect, replete with the grid lines - it may be coincidental - or Black holes really do have actual grid lines, and it's not a 1970's era computereze cultural artifact of the pasts-future haunting the present.
posted by stbalbach at 8:49 PM on April 3, 2009


These beautiful simulated images tell a similar story in higher rez.
posted by McLir at 9:07 PM on April 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


So falling into a black hole is like playing Tron? Cool! Let's do this.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:08 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did they just add this paragraph describing the red and white grids?
Hamilton and Polhemus have painted a red grid on the horizon to help visualise it (as the horizon is spherical, the two circles on the grid represent the north and south "poles" of its central black hole). And as you pass one Schwartzschild radius, another artificial visual aid pops up. The white grid that loops around you marks where distant observers would place the horizon – this is where you'd see other people falling in if they followed you through the horizon.
Or are y'all not reading the whole thing? Cool video overall, just wish it was bigger.
posted by breath at 11:11 PM on April 3, 2009


Two more simulations: 1, 2 (via)
posted by metaplectic at 2:15 AM on April 4, 2009


I read a short story years ago about a space ship exploring the region around a black hole. Their crew includes some kind of a plasma creature who'd do the EVA and a psychic who would keep him in contact with the ship. They fall in love. Things go very wrong, and the plasma creature falls in.

In the story, psychic communication is instantaneous, regardless of distance. Being made of plasma lets the creature survive the tidal forces, but time dilatation very quickly kicks in. From the perspective of our psychic observer, that last scream of his will continue for as long as she lives.

--------

@digsrus: portable hole.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:44 AM on April 4, 2009


And I think it's also a bad idea to compare the simulated black hole to the one that is likely to be at the center of our galaxy, but then use an un-centered image of a galaxy as the focal point of the video.

Eh… I think you have to give them a pass on that one, considering the center region of the Milky Way is probably so blindingly bright that you wouldn't recognize where you were or have any sense of bearings due to small POV obstructions like red giants and such. The scales of the these things tend to screw up their perception in our little ape brain.

Singularity looks like a bitch, though. So they got that part right.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:53 AM on April 4, 2009


The Simpsons did this already.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:51 AM on April 4, 2009


Just dropped in to make sure the New Scientist haters have had their say. From the first comment. Carry on.

We prefer to be called fans.
posted by humannaire at 6:13 AM on April 4, 2009


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow: That's "Kyrie", by Poul Anderson.
posted by teraflop at 7:13 PM on April 4, 2009


Hnh, always thought there'd be new age music playing if I fell into a black hole.
Is seeing even an issue? Sensation would seem to take on a new order in a black hole. I'm curious what kind of, if any, consciousness is possible to even make sense of it.
Figuring out what light is doing is easy.

Just dropped in to make sure the New Scientist haters have had their say. From the first comment. Carry on.
Totally, that "Masturbation could bring hay fever relief for men" article is cutting edge.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:46 AM on April 5, 2009


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