• Question: What are black holes.

    Asked by peter296 to Simon, Rosemary, Roisin, Jean on 28 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Simon Spichak

      Simon Spichak answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      From our current understanding of space, a black hole is very strange indeed. They are thought to form when a star begins to run out of fuel, since it isn’t burning it’s fuel it becomes heavier and heavier. This star becomes really heavy as its mass keeps increasing! Now with an increase in mass, the star exerts more and more gravity until it reaches a point where the gravity is so strong that it collapses inwards upon itself! When it collapses inwards, it becomes a very small point in space with a very, very strong gravitational pull. In fact, it’s so strong that once light, or anything else for that matter, gets close enough to the black hole – it cannot escape! It is literally so dense that it stops light from escaping! Now if we have an object approach close to a black hole, such as a basketball or a loaf of bread, it is sucked in. A process called spaghettification occurs where an object is stretched apart (kind of like spaghetti) as it falls into the black hole. We don’t know exactly what happens at this point but its fascinating! Thanks for the wonderful question!