Discover a NASA-produced video that reveals what you’d see if you fell into a black hole

Black holes are cosmic monsters that continue to retain an aura of mystery Have you ever wondered what would happen if you fell into one? That was the question NASA asked, and that was the motivation To implement a surprising plan. Its scientists have developed A profound experience with the US agency’s Climate Simulation Center’s Discover supercomputer. The idea was to recreate an astronaut’s journey past a black hole’s event horizon—the point of no return—and briefly circle it.

Nanda Rhea, CSIC Research Professor at the Barcelona Space Science Institute, explains to the ABC that the visualization is meant to show. Hawking radiationThe theory establishes that black holes are capable of releasing energy, losing matter, or disappearing.

Other details are in this video black hole Fixed when actually present to rotate. But Rea says this would greatly complicate the calculations. eThe skin of an astronaut living a unique experience.

The starting point for creating a journey

In the NASA videos, Rhea points it out Consequences of General Relativity Einstein. Creating something similar to what we’ve already seen in ‘Interstellar’ is an exercise in creativity combined with the knowledge we have so far. The images seen in the disc form and in the sky in the background are changed and they come Copy or create hypnotic mirror images.

“People often ask about this, and simulating these hard-to-imagine processes helps me connect the mathematics of relativity to real effects in the real universe,” says Jeremy Schnittman, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics, on the space agency’s website. Goddard Space Planes NASA and responsible for visualization.

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In this case we are talking about a supermassive black hole, 4.3 million times the mass of our Sun, which aims to resemble the black hole found at the center of our galaxy. Sagittarius A*. In fact, in 2022, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team showed us some of the first images of the Milky Way’s heart, shared in this video.

Based on these notes, Two different scenarios, “One camera – assuming the role of an astronaut – does not reach the event horizon and is ejected, while the other crosses the threshold and seals its fate.” In this way, Schnittman, along with scientist Brian Powell, invested some Five days Completing them would have taken a decade, just a few years ago, with the technology for computing power.

If you have the will, Schnittman explains, You want to fall into a super black hole, “Stellar-mass black holes of about 30 solar masses have very small event boundaries and strong tidal forces, i.e. gravitational forces, Destroy objects That approach before reaching the horizon…falling objects spread out like noodles, a process astrophysicists call Spaghettiification“, he mentions.

Scenario 1: What you can see if you fall into a black hole

The event horizon of a black hole is about 25 million kilometers, which is almost the same 17% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. A flat, swirling cloud of hot, bright gas can be seen in the video against a starry sky background. Acceleration diskIt is the orange structure that surrounds it and acts as a visual reference during entry.

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Rhea points out that in real life, the Sagittarius A* accretion disk can be observed with the Event Horizon telescope in 2019, and this is the same.

Instead, Rhea explains that it’s never seen before Photon rings, is formed near the black hole from light that has circled the black hole many times. This is because the resolution of the instruments is not yet able to see them accurately.

Schematic of the most important regions of a black hole


near a black hole We have a speed close to the speed of light. The accretion disk and background stars increase in brightness just as the sound of a racing car approaches. With bright white light. “Images are amplified or distorted as light travels through increasingly distorted space-time,” the agency’s experts describe.

Images begin to distort


In real time, the agency highlights that the camera takes about three hours to fall on the event horizon. But to no one fWitness this from afarAs Rhea explains, You will see that the camera does not get there. “As space-time decays closer to the horizon, The picture will be slow Then it appears to freeze,” NASA qualifies.

When traveling at a certain velocity around an object of mass Ria ABC, Time somehow changes depending on the type of gravitational field one is in. “This goes for anything, even airplanes. So, of course, when we’re around a black hole, the effect is huge and the time difference is huge between a viewer at a distance, for whom everything happens slowly, compared to someone entering the hole, for whom things happen very quickly.

Once inside, the camera and its moving space-time They rush towards the center A black hole is called a one-dimensional point Singularity“The laws of physics as we know them stop working,” says NASA.

Schnittmann establishes that when the camera crosses the horizon, its destruction, through what we previously called spaghettification, lasts only a few seconds. And the image turns black.

The Rhea description is that what happens in this case is that the gravity they feel at their feet is greater than the gravity they feel above their head, because gravity is like the square of distance. “But what happens is, in our case on Earth, this gravity is so small that this difference is not noticeable. We don’t even feel it. But if you’re in a supermassive black hole, this Gravity is too high You can see the difference between your legs and your head. And then that effect stretches you out and you’re like spaghetti.”

Scenario 2: Circling the black hole

In another scenario, the camera moves around the event horizon, But never get over it. Structures in the direction of travel, in the center of the simulation, become brighter as the velocity increases. At 46 seconds, the camera moves closer to the event horizon, reaching 60% of the speed of light.


A video of a man flying around a black hole


“If an astronaut flies a spacecraft on a round trip around a black hole he will come back 36 minutes “Younger than their counterparts on the mothership, which was farther away from the black hole,” notes NASA, because time slows near a strong gravitational source and approaches the speed of light.

“This is what Schnittman is trying to explain when he says that if the black hole is spinning as fast as shown in the movie ‘Interstellar’ – the brave astronaut – will come back. Years younger than his employees.

Rhea praised the two videos and points out that there are many more mysteries surrounding black holes, saying, “The biggest What are they made of?. The truth is, we have no idea what kind of thing there is.” Until these mysteries are solved, they will continue to generate speculation. NASA’s merit in trying to bring an event closer to everyone. More complex is attractive.

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