We bet many of you have wondered, ‘what if the sun were to suddenly become a black hole?’ Would we all get sucked into it and suddenly everything turns black? The short answer, surprisingly, is no! Neither the earth nor us would just get sucked in by a giant cosmic vacuum! What would really happen then? Let’s find out! Here’s what scientists have to say about it:
If our sun suddenly became a black hole right now, it would first shrink down to the size of about 3 km. Yep, only 3 km.
Interestingly (and quite optimistically perhaps), nothing would actually happen to the Earth! The Earth would simply continue on its natural orbit around what used to be the sun. Contrary to popular belief, the Solar System would not be sucked in. This is because even a solar-mass black hole would not exert any more gravitational pull than our Sun already does.
Although all the planets in our solar system including the Earth would keep going on their orbit and doing what they are supposed to do, they would be completely robbed of all sunlight. Since there would not be an actual sun to keep providing heat and light to the planets, unfortunately for us, life as we know it would cease to exist on Earth. For other planets, their atmospheric systems and functions would also change due to the lack of sunlight.
Which makes us think – although black holes are definitely one of the coolest and mysterious things out there, we feel quite happy to have our Sun shining down on us!
Scientists are pretty clear now that black holes don’t ‘suck in’ everything around them in their entirety. While as an astronomical and astrophysical event, formation of black holes and properties of black holes are indeed still mysterious, it still does not magically make everything around it disappear. This is in part thanks to a slightly scary phenomenon called Spaghettification (more on this cool phenomenon later!).
Nothing goes into a black hole and vanishes. Instead, things that get too close to a black hole are actually pulled in by the immense gravitational force at the centre. This pull is too strong for anything to escape beyond a certain point known as the ‘event horizon.’ The pull beyond the event horizon is so strong that not even particles or light can escape from it.
As weird it sounds, black holes really do throw stuff back out into the cosmos after gravity pulls things into them. Black holes are like intense patches with very high gravitational pull at the centre, but a little messy when it comes to what they do with the material it gets pulled in.
Unlike pop culture myths, after things get pulled into a black hole due to the very high gravitational force, not everything disappears. A lot of the material is actually flung out.
Any particle or light that reaches the ‘event horizon’ can’t escape the gravitational pull anymore. After it enters the event horizon it eventually reaches the centre, at which point, the black hole throws or flings out a lot of the material from the object back out through the other side of the funnel. This is called ‘spaghettification’ (yes, like the pasta)!
Cool name? We think so too!
Interestingly, before the material is flung out, it is ‘shredded’ by the black hole in what would be called a ‘tidal disruption event.’ The forces causing the object to shred are so strong around a black hole that it would pull apart any object in a long thick strand, by causing it to stretch out in opposite directions.
Did you learn something interesting today? Is there something you’d like to know more about? Tell us in the comments section below. And don’t forget to share any cool information and trivia you might know about black holes, suns, or spaghettification!
Read more about our amazing and mysterious galaxy here:
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