What Would Happen If Earth Fell Into A Black Hole?

Black holes have long been a source of much excitement and intrigue. And interest regarding black holes will surely grow now that gravitational waves have been discovered.

Many of the questions I am asked regard how “true” science fictionconcerning black holes might be, and whether worm holes, such as those featured in Stargate, are real or not. Invariably though, the one item that is almost assured to come up are the largely gruesome ways in which black holes might theoretically affect human beings and the Earth itself.

Mass, charge, spin

There are three properties of a black hole that are (in principle) measurable: their mass, their spin (or angular momentum) and their overall electronic charge. Indeed, these are the only three parameters that an outside observer can ever know about since all other information about anything that goes in to making up a black hole is lost. This is known as the “no hair theorem”. Put simply: no matter how hairy or complex an object you throw in to a black hole, it will get reduced down (or shaved) to its mass, charge and spin.

Of these parameters, mass is arguably the most significant. The very definition of a black hole is that it has its mass concentrated in to a vanishingly small volume – the “singularity”. And it is the mass of the black hole – and the huge gravitational forces that its mass generates – which does the “damage” to nearby objects.

Space spaghetti

One of the best known effects of a nearby black hole has the imaginative title of “Spaghettification”. In brief, if you stray too close to a black hole, then you will stretch out, just like spaghetti.

This effect is caused due to a gravitation gradient across your body. Imagine that you are headed feet —> Read More