Guess what? You’re what’s for dinner tonight!

by | Jan 16, 2014 | General Information | 2 comments

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We have a gazillion varieties of dinner recipes on our planet. Ranging from american cuisines such as chicken sandwiches, penne in pesto sauce, steak, etc to Chinese to Indian dessert. But ever wondered about you yourself being someone’s supper? Oh, Am not talking about the mythical and ludicrous werewolves and vampires.

 Am talking about something that’s existent, non-fictional and wildly treacherous.
But something that’s far, far away such that it will take you millions of light years to even reach it(Not that anyone would, but you know hypothetically).
Enough guessing. Open your friendly Google and type ‘What is a hole that is black?’. Or wait, let me google that for you-
Guess you found the monster.
So what is a Black Hole? Is it simply a big gigantic hole in space? It’s a lot more complex than that!

To formally define it, A Black Hole, a term coined by Physicist John Wheeler in 1967, is a place in the enormous space where gravity pulls so much, that even light, supposedly the fastest mover on earth, cannot escape it. But why is the gravity so tremendously strong? Well, Imagine the tallest building that you can see when you step out of your house, Now imagine it being compressed further and further until its no more than a tiny cubic block. That’s what happens-put in a nutshell- when a Black Hole is formed.
They can be as tiny as an atom, but as massive as a mountain.

But how is something so massive and colossal created? The answer is all around you. It’s pasted on the sky blanket like tiny polka-dots. Stars. If your idea of photography has nothing to do with Hollywood stars, you’ll understand what am talking about.
Stars have the amusing choice of ending their lives in various ways. Angry and not-so-massive stars(like our sun) end their lives as red giants wherein their core boils up, hence the outer skin of the star starts to expand, more and more, until the radius of the red giant sun will be just beyond Earth’s orbit. The outer layers steaming with heat and luminous intensity is just enough for the helium to collide together to form carbon. Finally after all the fuel gets exhausted, the giant goes to sleep, lulled by its coolness. It will also release its bowel, ejecting the upper layer materials, to form the White Dwarf, and then eventually in its old age, the Black Dwarf.


So we saw Red Giants, White dwarfs, and Black dwarfs. But this is ordinary. There are some stupendous Stars that just love ending their lives in style, as Black Holes(Supernovae).
The phenomenon is similar, except in these stars, even after Helium gets exhausted, they have enough mass to fuse the carbon together. It doesn’t stop there. These greedy stars stretch their lives till iron is formed. But then, they can shine no more. During the course of life of a star, two opposing forces equally challenge each other. Gravity Vs Pressure exerted by burning fuel. But after the star has given up, Gravity trumps by collapsing the star on itself, shrinking it to a fraction of its original size, thus forming the monstrous hole.
This all happens so fast that star doesn’t even have time to say goodbye or realise its dead. Shortly before it forms the hole, it ‘coughs’ up some gamma radiation to empty its belly, while it gobbles up the stellar material around it.



You love Spaghetti right? How would you like to transform into the thing you love?
Let’s say you would like to take one for the team, so you venture into space, valiantly to witness your own demise. Oh, but remember to wear a watch(Rolex preferably) as you approach a black hole. As you nullify the distance between you both, the gravity of the hole starts to fancy you, hence it pulls you towards itself stronger and stronger. You approach what is called a event horizon. This is the point of no return for you(And pretty much anything in our cosmo).

Now is the time to take a look at your fancy watch. Let’s say you enter the horizon at 11:59 AM. Here on, you’ll notice that your watch starts to slow down. Don’t worry, your watch is working perfectly well. Its the tremendous gravity that helps the time to warp and slow down(thanks to Einsten for General Relativity).

As you inch closer to the black hole, you might start to feel a pinch(Don’t be alarmed, its normal). You would start to experience a pulling sensation, especially at your toes. Your toes, i.e your lower half, is being pulled by the gravity more tremendously than your upper half. You will eventually be stretched and torn apart, just like how you squeeze your toothpaste to get that last pinch of cream out.
This whole process of being stretched and torn apart is called spaghettification.


One out of the many interesting events during this process is, the objects that enter after you will experience less time dilation, and objects that have already been devoured would have experienced more dilation. What iam saying is, if you look forward you’ll be able to witness all the objects that have fallen in, and if you turn your head back you’ll be able to see all the objects that are going to gulped down.  Essentially, you get to see the entire history of a point in the cosmo. Science is truly Spectacular!

Don’t use too much of your brain cells.You can’t see a black hole, ’cause the gravity sucks in all of the light. But scientists can see and deduce how strong the black hole affects the stars and the gas around it. But when these stars get close enough to it for a rendezvous, a high-energy radiation is radiated from them, which is detected by our ‘scopes.


A common question that an amateur can ask. The answer is NO, black holes don’t go around chewing down stars, planets and moons. They are genuine monsters. Only if you go searching for trouble, they’ll show their true form. Even if our sun was replaced by a black hole(Also our sun can never become a black hole, So hurray!), the planets would peacefully go about their daily routine of rotation and revolution.

To conclude with a famous quote from one of my favorite astro-wiz,
“Sure, black holes can kill us, and in a variety of interesting and gruesome ways. But, all in all, we may owe our very existence to them.”
                 – Philip Plait(Author of Death from the skies!)