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The Black Hole in laymans terms

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posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 08:34 AM


What you see up there isn't the black hole or the singularity itself (I'll get to that in a second). Instead, you see a graphical interpretation of the cosmic rays coming from the center of the Galaxy. Why is this important?

A Black hole is impervious to light except when it absorbs it. It can be likened to a whirlpool in the dark. You don't see it there, but you can feel it pulling and spinning you around its vortex. In space, the same ideas apply. Astronomers identify black holes by spotting areas of distorted light from stars. They see a light flash brightly or become dimmer suddenly, and based on calculations, they can predict the passage of a black hole within that star system.

A black hole is made up of three parts, mainly. At the edge, is the event horizon, which is the accumulation of the newest particles that have been swallowed by the black hole by entering the field of influence that begins at this point. This is the part that visually gives away the presence of the black hole, as it is the only part where the particles of light, photons, are still within the spectrum of colors. Like a tornado, you don't see it there until it accumulates debris such as cattle or houses. Which is how it gets that murky color.

The inner part, the actual vortex, is the implosion of gravity and can be likened to the innermost swirls of a whirlpool. It's generally thought that space/time consists of curvatures around massive objects that generate powerful gravtiational fields. It looks like this:

As you can see, the heavier (and the more mass within) the body, the bigger the curvature. This is really a representation of gravity, which has yet to be fully understood. At this point of the black hole, the particles being absorbed are on its way to the heart of the black hole; the singularity.

The final and quintissential part of a black hole is the central singularity. A singularity, theoretically, is a single point in space where all that is consumed by the black hole becomes unified as one object. This is made possible because of the massive forces that generates the pulling effect, as well as the ultra-heavy bending of localized space. Imagine a curve like the picture above, but at least 10x deeper with a cone-like depression at the center.

What this means is quite elusive to the scientific community. The significance of a singularity leads to many different possibilities, including a link to forming protomatter or perhaps even a form of afterlife as eventually, all particles will reach the supermassive black hole sitting at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Black holes form, usually, when a neutron star (that's a star that collapsed on itself under its own gravitational forces) becomes so densely packed and heavy, that they implode within themselves even further... think of how when you suck in your gut, your chest tends to inflate as a result of all that air and mass being transferred from your belly. If you were a neutron star doing this, you don't have a chest for that mass to go, so your belly continues diminishing in size until *poof* it becomes a hole in your body. The force you exerted to suck in your stomach had become so great, that it sucked in the stomach itself and everything around it.

Thats all I have to say about that.

for now

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 09:00 AM
Great post. I'd love to see more post like this on ATS.

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 09:07 AM
Educational, yet interesting! I never knew much about black holes, good post, about an afterlife... that part was intriguing to me.

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 09:29 AM
Very wonderful post!!! Thank you for sharing that with the community.

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 09:54 AM
A nice and correct post. You might want to add something about spinning black holes and hawking radiation, but then it probably will no longer be a layman explanation.

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 05:55 PM
hey, I'm glad you all enjoyed it!

it was my pleasure to share this information, and I hope to have more "laymans explanations" in the future over similarly sophisticated topics.

Hawking radiation *can* be explained in laymans terms, I believe:

Hawking radiation, named after the modern genius who studied them, Stephen Hawking, is an explanation for how black holes eventually collapse by giving off the energy it collects.

It is thought that HR is usually emitted from smaller black holes, because the supermassive one at the center of the Milky Way does not appear to be evaporating, but it may be possible. Extremely slow, but possible.

Like a supernova, or star explosion, Hawking radiation is a jet of particles and antiparticles that are streaming from the event horizon as sort of a counterforce from the spiraling effect. These particles are thought to annihilate one another, because the laws of physics state that when a particle hits its opposite form (ie matter and antimatter), they destroy each other and produce energy it their place. This process is critical to HR, because it is how it continuously produces itself: by fusing particles with antiparticles, more "virtual particles" are created and those that come into contact with the black hole's event horizon reform into more Hawking Radiation thus continuing the cycle of unraveling the black hole. These particles and anti particles are kind of like a man and a woman; you bring them together and they annihilate one another (metaphorically joking, of course) and they eventually bring forth more men and women as an end result.

Also like an exploding star, this stream of thermal radiation is responsible for distributing important star-building components as well as "virtual particles", most of which are dark-matter oriented. Usually, it is only these virtual particles that can escape the pull of the black hole upon formation, because they have a special relationship with the "void" of space: dark matter. This is not yet completely understood, as dark matter requires much more study by scientists (if the military would let them!!).

The easiest way to envision this process is comparing it to eating an orange. To get the the center of the orange, you peel off the outer shell; the skin. As you keep spinning the orange to get all of its skin off, you can see more and more of its juicy internal core. The core, like a singularity, stays put because it is not too attached to its outer shell, like an accretion disk/event horizon.

to those thinking I know it all or something, i cheated with this last one, because I had to remind myself the intricacies of Hawking Radiation as I had forgotten. just FYI, honestly.

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 06:45 PM
i was always under the impression black holes were formed by large stars collapsing on themselves then exploding... the explosion is short lived because the gravity the star generates pulls all the matter in causing the whole to form... i'm not a expert though so i wouldnt know maybe i'm just saying the same thing you did in different terms

posted on Jan, 13 2004 @ 06:51 PM

Originally posted by AlnilamOmega
hey, I'm glad you all enjoyed it!

And I'm glad I read it. I got lot of information at the same time enjoyed reading throught it.

Could you explain other topics for example Big Bang or Einstein's Relativity? That would be of great help.


posted on Jan, 14 2004 @ 07:35 AM

Originally posted by surfup
Could you explain other topics for example Big Bang or Einstein's Relativity? That would be of great help.

John Baez has a great site about relativity, with a lot of links to tutorials and free online books about mostly general relativity, but also some on special relativity. here

If you can't find any good information about special relativity, I can scan you some pages of the great explanation in my Alonso-Finn (old, but good and with a lot of examples).

posted on Jan, 14 2004 @ 07:53 PM

Originally posted by amantine
I can scan you some pages of the great explanation in my Alonso-Finn (old, but good and with a lot of examples).

If you have some free time could you? I looked over the previous page you sent, it made very little sense and I'm not used to learning that way.

I think I learn much better reading a book physically, rather than reading a book written in internet form.

Thanks for your help.

posted on Jan, 15 2004 @ 02:17 AM
The problem is that I can't scan this to editable text, because all the formula's screw up. If you want more, I could email you some more

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