posted on Apr, 5 2006 @ 05:29 PM
Let's start small. First, say hi to yourself. You have a certain density of the atoms in your body. They stay comfortably away from each other, and
all their interactions are really just their electromagnetic fields reacting with each other. The air around you has a lower density - at its normal
temperature the atoms stay very far away from each other. Lead, being very dense, has tightly packed atoms that stay pretty close together. This is
the foundation of mass.
Mass will always be equal (Which is heavier; a pound of lead or a pound of feathers? Neither, they're both a pound). However, the amount of mass in
an area can change.
Now look at the sun. Although it primarily made of Hydrogen (with a growing amount of helium, and other trace gases and space debris), the Hydrogen on
the sun is incredibly dense. So dense, it looks like a liquid... because it essentially is (not really, it's a super-dense plasma). The further into
the sun you go, the more the density and the temperature increases.
Once you get to the sun's core, the density is so enourmous, that the atomic nuclei of the hydrogen (which, as a plasma, no longer has its protective
electron field) is pushed very close to other nuclei. The magnetic repulsion of the nuclei (which is positive for both nuclei, and the magnetic force
is incredibly strong when compared to gravity) is overcome and the nuclei "fuse" into one atom - Helium! This process also releases energy, which
keeps up the heat, which perpetuates the fusion process. The hotter things gets, the faster fusion proceeds, the more energy is released.
Now, in the sun's case, this doesn't lead to a runaway reaction... the mass-density isn't high enough - and the inside temperature never gets hot
enough. Eventually the sun will run out of Hydrogen and will start burning Helium - though to fuse Helium takes much more heat - and so the sun will
actually shrink a bit. But, at that higher temperature, the fusion will proceed faster, and this "2nd life" will end sooner than the first. The sun
may actually go through 3 or 4 such cycles, each progressively shorter, before electron repulsion and the lack of mass stops the core from shrinking
any further, getting any hotter, and any more fusion continuing.
Bigger stars don't run this problem. We are talking a lot bigger here... about 3 solar masses or more at the least. As their core collapses, the
gravitational pull is so strong, that the incredible force of the electron repulsion is overpowered. Fusion then starts its runaway. Mind you, the
bigger stars have already been burning hotter, and so live shorter, than our sun - but each of these new cycles is shorter still. The cycle will come
to a destructive end when the star begins to fuse matter into Iron. Iron is the tipping point on the periodic table. Anything below Iron can be fused
to give off energy, and anything above Iron can be split (Fission) to give off energy... but fusing or spliting above or below Iron only consumes
When a massive star starts to fuse matter into Iron, it will only do so for approximately 1 day - so hot and so fast has the fusion process become.
Once it hits that limit with Iron, then all hell breaks loose.
You see, the star was being supported by this constant explosive energy from its core. The density and pressure where constantly balanced out by the
fusion process. If the fusion process slowed, the star would collapse until the heat rose to keep the balance. The natural balance was difficult to
disrupt and remains in near perfect harmony.
But without fuel, there is nothing to support the star, and the mass begins to collapse. The amount of energy given off as a truely runaway fusion
process takes off will outshine the rest of its parent galaxy, and will be given off in a fraction of a second. So great is the energy, that some
matter will "eat up" energy by being split back into hydrogen, helium, and "component" gases. Other matter will eat up energy by being fused into
the heavy elements, like Uranium, Lead, and Gold. But still, the amount of energy is incredible.
If the star was lucky, then the core will stop collapsing at Neutron repulsion, and thus becomes a Neutron star. Whereas Electron Repulsion stopped a
collapse due to the Magnetic Force of the electrons, Neutron Repulsion stops the collapse due to the Strong Nuclear Force - the strongest elemental
force known to exist in the universe. The atomic nuclei are SO packed in a Neutron Star, that it is essentially a giant atom - there is no space
between neutrons that comprises it (there's also no protons, which had electrons pushed into them to make them into neutrons).
However, what if the mass-density was great enough that not even this force could stop the collapse? What if this force was overcome? The neutrons
would then start fusing into each other - which by standard theories is impossible (no mass can occupy the same spot at the same time). Since this is
a runaway process, its not just going to be some neutrons fusing into each other - but all of them fusing into one. The mass-density of this point
increases to a point that we call infinite. With no force left to hold mass apart, the center of mass is infinitely small. It's essentially a divide
by zero case.
Any mass / no space to put it in = infinite mass per amount of space
This is called a singularity. It is what a black hole is.
But if it's infinitely small, then why do blackholes vary in size? This is because the amount of mass is still the same. Remember, a black hole's
mass in no space would be equal to the black hole's mass if it were spread out across all space. And each piece of that mass still has a
gravitational pull - as odd as that is.
So more massive black holes will create more powerful disturbances in gravity.
Now, the power of this gravitational distortion is so immense, the light itself cannot escape its grasp. In truth its not really escaping. Gravity is
actually the "curvature of space time"... or in essence, the light doesn't pulled, its that the path it travels straight along is changed to loop
back into the black hole. The point where this gravitational strength is strong enough to cause this is called the Event Horizon. The more mass a
black hole has, the larger this Event Horizon will be. The size of the Event Horizon is actually very small. Most Event Horizons are only the size of
a small city. Super-Massive black holes (which have solar masses in the hundreds of thousands to the tens of billions - as opposed to regular which
can form around 8 solar masses) could have Event Horizons ranging in size from the planet earth, to larger than our own sun!
Now, the chances of a black hole messing around with things is negligible. Although they may be impossible to "see", their effects are easily
noticed, and so the position of all nearby ones in our galaxy are known. If we were to imagine that somehow a Black Hole were travelling straight for
us at the speed of light (which would be impossible), it would still take 6 more years for it to get here to make it in time for 2012. There are none
that are even remotely near to us.
A fool's imagination that got the better of him and took off in popular culture. A White Hole would repel all objects away from it. Depending how
mcuh of an "opposite" you want a White Hole to be, it could be even be inifinite in size, with very little density, which would make it infinitely
inversed density... which means there's nothing to it and its everywhere.
White Hole's are the popular idea that matter that falls into a Black Hole would somehow be ejected from a White Hole somewhere else... that somehow
these two things formed a bridge between them. This really makes no sense and there's absolutely no physical proof or theory to back it up. Anything
that falls into a Black Holes adds to the Black Hole's mass, which actually makes the Black Hole larger.
Add to this, but there's no way that a White Hole could form. What would it form from? How would this happen?
No, White Holes were a fantasy that simply drew a lot of "what if scenarios".
Hope all this nonsensical rambling helped!