The Black Hole. A region of space with a gravitational force so strong that even light cannot escape its clutches once devoured.  Albert Einstein’s theory and formulas suggested the formation of a Black Hole but he believed that such an unbelievable and vast amount of energy, to the point of chaos, could not exist. What kind of force was gravity that it would overwhelm all other forces in this universe? It was unthinkable.  Nature wouldn’t allow it. And Einstein wasn’t alone in his claims. Many scientists believed that Black Hole was just like The Lost City of Atlantis. But they were wrong….Einstein was wrong. Black Holes do exist.

According to National Geographic, English philosopher John Michell mentioned the idea in a report to the Royal Society of London in 1783. French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace predicted their existence in a book published in 1796. No one called these superdense curiosities black holes—they were referred to as frozen stars, dark stars, collapsed stars, or Schwarzschild singularities, after the German astronomer who solved many theoretical equations about them. The name “black hole” was first used in 1967, during a talk by American physicist John Wheeler at Columbia University in New York City.

So how exactly is such a phenomenon caused? What creates a Black Hole?

Black Holes are born when stars twenty times bigger than our sun exhausts its nuclear fuel it explodes as a supernova. The core of the star collapses under its own weight. It is squeezed by gravity into a neutron star- a ball that is a dozen miles in diameter which keeps spinning rapidly.

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The gravitational pull of a neutron star (twenty times bigger than our sun) is so severe that it goes into unbelievable limits. It can detonate a Hiroshima-like bomb every millisecond for the entire life of the universe.  Chunks of Iron bigger than Mount Everest gets crushed instantly into grains of sand. Neutrons, electrons and protons are pulped tinier and tinier and denser and denser until it becomes an unexplainable chasm known as the Black Hole.

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The universal speed limit, which is the speed of light, is 186,282 miles per second (299, 791.819 kilometers per second). But the gravitational pull of a Black Hole is so strong that even this speed isn’t strong enough to overcome it and hence whatever goes into a Black Hole can’t get out. Even light.

But contrary to popular belief Black Holes don’t devour and trap everything in its path. If our sun was to become a Black Hole (it won’t ever happen but let’s pretend that’s the case) the planets would still be in its place. Earth is not going to get dramatically sucked in and lost forever. It’s going to remain cold and dark, and probably lifeless.

So how does matter get sucked in? Some million miles from the center of the Black Hole is a dividing line called the Event Horizon.  Anything crossing the Event Horizon, a rock, a planet, a person, light…is sucked in and lost forever. But no one can see that happening.

Assuming you can see the Black Hole from Earth (which is again impossible unless you have a specially made telescope) and a person crossing the Event Horizon you will not see him getting sucked in. Quite the opposite you will see him frozen….standing still in place for an infinite amount of time. Time, which is another mind bending matter, brings us to the complicated and awe striking revelation of the relationship with the Black Hole. And what might that be, you ask?

As Einstein once discovered, time is affected by gravity. Which means that time differs in different places according to gravity. The further the clock is from gravity the faster time passes. For example, if you place a clock on an airplane in the sky, another clock on a sky scrapper few thousand feet below, then another clock on the ground, they all tick at different speed. But the difference is tiny, with only a matter of nanoseconds, so you might as well not see the difference.

The Event Horizon of a Black Hole is basically a time travelling phenomenon. If a person in a rocket travels to the Event Horizon and spends a minute there, without crossing it, then for every minute he or she spends there a thousand years on Earth will pass. Now the time difference of the planets in Interstellar makes it more believable huh?

So what happens once you cross the Event Horizon and fall in? Will we keep falling forever into a bottomless pit? No. Not at all. Black Holes actually do have a bottom but no one, nothing will ever live to see that. The gravitational pull grows so strong inside the Black Hole, that if you fall feet in first, the tug on your feet will be so much greater than the tug on your head that you will be stretched like toffee until you are ripped apart into bits and pieces. Physicists call this “spaghettified.” Your parts will reach the bottom called ‘singularity.’

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To understand singularity can be little bit of a brain pain. Singularities are one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs. They are imagined to be extremely tiny. So tiny that even if you maximize it a trillion, a trillion and a trillion times more, you would still be unable to see it under the heaviest and most powerful microscope that exists. But scientists believe singularities to exist. Something tiny but unthinkably heavy which leads modern day theoretical physicists to believe that our universe is not all there is to it. That we might be living in a multiverse. A universe that runs parallel to another universe in a different time caused by singularity.

This is all theoretical but to for a multi universe to exist, you need to take a bunch of matter from an existing universe, swallow it, crunch it down and seal it off. That’s right. It leads all back to Black Hole and singularity.

Scientists believe that the they know what happened to the last singularity. Our universe began, 13.8 billion years ago in a big bang. Before that everything was packed into an incredibly tiny, massively dense speck- a singularity. And then our universe was born. So perhaps the Black Hole had originated from another universe and we are living in it. It’s time to pinch yourselves. Because this might be the reality of a theory to a parallel universe.

Courtesy to Nat Geo.

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