• Question: What do you think happens to the planets when it gets sucked up by a black hole?

    Asked by cookieland to Ed, Sam, Steve, Vera on 22 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by roselil, emmagroves82.
    • Photo: Vera Weisbecker

      Vera Weisbecker answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      No idea! I once heard that time goes backwards in black holes, so perhaps everything happens backwards? I suspect that the huge gravity of a black hole will do terrible things to a planet before it gets sucked in though – it might well arrive as tiny pebbles…(wow, that is the most unqualified answer I’ve given so far!)

    • Photo: Steven Daly

      Steven Daly answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Black wholes are really cool! What would happen is that the planet would be totally ripped to pieces. A black hole is so heavy, and its gravity so strong, they the side of the planet nearest the black hole would feel the pull of the gravity much more than the side facing away. This would make the near side of the planet move towards the black hole faster, kind of making the planet into an egg shape until the strain was too much and it broke up.

      The same thing would happen with people, in a process called spaghettification. If you are going into a black hole feet first, your feet would move faster than your head, and you would be stretch out into a line of atoms, eventually!

    • Photo: Sam Tazzyman

      Sam Tazzyman answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Wow. Awesome.