A Phenomenon

March 2, 2008
By Sitav Nabi, Cedar Grove, NJ

Imagine your bed cloth stretched out and held up by an invisible force. Now imagine another bed cloth stretched on top of that one with a few inches separating them. If you put a small round object on the bottom sheet, you can see how the fabric bends, curves, or warps. Now if you put an even smaller object such as a marble on the sheet, it automatically rolls down to where that bigger sphere is and settles in the warp. That is exactly what happens in space. When a big object, like our sun, is placed in the fabric of space, the fabric warps and pulls in whatever is around it like our eight planets. This is otherwise known as gravity. When an object that is bigger and heavier than our sun, such as a black hole, is placed on the fabric, it pulls in much, much more. In this case, the black hole can be a transparent bowling ball and you can see that no matter how far away you place the next objects, they all fall in.
Usually, the first time a person hears the term “black hole” they create a literal image in their minds: a huge hole that is black and sucks up everything in its path. Well, these people have the right idea, but there is so much more to that simple term than the actions of a vacuum cleaner. These out worldly objects can easily bend and break the laws of physics as we know them and they can do it all in less than a millionth of a second.
So, what are black holes? It depends on what aspect you look at. They could be a vacuum cleaner, transparent bowling ball on a bed sheet, or a phantom of the human mind. Black holes are simply stars that have reached the final phase of stellar evolution and are massive enough to collapse in on them selves. The original mass of the star results in the gravitational pull of the black hole. Stars have to be millions of times the mass of our own Sun in order to become a black hole.
Black holes are found commonly in the universe, in other forms as well such as active galactic nuclei or quasars. Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are black holes positioned in the centre of a galaxy that emit high amounts of emission. Quasars are brilliantly luminous black holes that emit high amounts of energy from their centers. These are the main forms of black holes.
The simple notion of gravity so strong goes to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. This theory states that gravity is the appearance of the curve of space-time, meaning that gravity is the warp in the fabric of space. A black hole’s mass concentration is so dense that it distorts space and time and the customary rules of geometry and physics don’t apply to it. A black hole has something called an event horizon which is the boundary of the object. At this point, the space fabric is so severely distorted that once you cross this “boundary” you cannot come back.
This boundary also has some unusual properties. From a distance, the velocity of the boundary seems completely stationary but if you get closer you will be sucked up and literally stretched out to be thinner than a human hair in less than a few seconds. The scientific term for this demonstration is spaghettification. Expanding on that, as you are crossing over the horizon line the light that you are emitting takes longer and longer to come out because of unreachable escape velocity. In fact, because of the distortion at the event horizon, time moves slower there than in surrounding space. At this point, they are considered time machines and from a perspective, it does seem logical. Black holes are a truly complex subject to grasp.
From the touch of information on this article, you surely get an idea of how interesting and complex black holes really are. Naturally, the human mind is curious and capable of figuring out typically any phenomena with the right amount of thought and brain power. Black holes are one of these phenomena and a quite large one. We are still trying to figure them out for the good of the human race, for if we do, we may be able to do what we used to think was impossible such as teleportation to different galaxies or even discovering another dimension. This phenomenon is utterly mind blowing and seems as if it doesn’t exist all but as Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

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