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What Would the View Be Like From Within a Black Hole?

The view from within a black hole?  Credit: University of Colorado

The view from within a black hole? Credit: University of Colorado


If you fell into a black hole, would you be engulfed in darkness? Could you see out beyond the event horizon? Are there wormholes inside black holes? Do black holes give birth to baby universes? Believe it or not, these questions may have been answered. Andrew Hamilton from the University of Colorado and Gavin Polhemus have created a video showing what falling into a Schwarzschild black hole might look like to the person falling in. The two researchers warn that based on our experience in the 3D world, we might imagine that falling through the horizon would be like falling through any other surface. However, they say, it’s not. And likely, a person falling into the black hole would be able to see outside of the event horizon.

“When an observer outside the horizon observes the horizon of a black hole,” the researchers say, “they are actually observing the outgoing horizon. When they subsequently fall through the horizon, they do not fall through the horizon they were looking at, the outgoing horizon; rather, they fall through the ingoing horizon, which was invisible to them until they actually passed through it. Once inside the horizon, the infaller sees both outgoing and ingoing horizons.”

As you might expect, this work has created a lot of interest, and the servers hosting the videos has already crashed once, but now has been put on a new server. Watch several different videos. along with written commentary here.

While this work is great fun to watch and delve into, it also has great scientific merit. Calculating what the universe looks like from inside a black hole is an important exercise because it forces physicists to examine how the laws of physics behave at a breaking point. For example, near the singularity, the observer’s view in the horizontal plane is highly blueshifted, but all directions other than horizontal appear highly redshifted.

Also, the principle of locality is severely tested inside a black hole. This is the idea that a point in space can only be influenced by its immediate surroundings. But when space is infinitely stretched, as physicists think it is at the heart of a black hole, the concept of “immediate surroundings” doesn’t make sense. So the concept of locality begins to lose its meaning too.

And that provides an interesting “thought laboratory” in which physicists can ask how ideas such as quantum mechanics and relativity might break down.

It also provides some other entertaining results. For example, space is so heavily curved inside a black hole that ordinary binocular vision would be no good for determining distances, says Hamilton. But trinoculars might work.

Read the paper here.

Sources: Technology Review Blog

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • solrey April 1, 2009, 10:58 AM

    @anaconda
    Thanks. Isn’t it ironic that skeptics call EU/PC theory pseudoscience yet thoroughly embrace the “science” of what amounts to a video game?

    It’s like thinking one is a rockstar because they’re good at Guitar Hero.
    Or on the other hand, actually being able to play a real guitar for an audience yet knowing that you’re no rock star.
    Illusion vs. Reality.

  • Jon Hanford April 1, 2009, 11:37 AM

    I see no one posting who actually read the accompanying paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0903.4717 . I’d be interested in hearing from someone who actually looked at and grasped what the authors had to say.

  • Salacious B. Crumb April 1, 2009, 12:24 PM

    @ Joe Hanford;

    I’ve read it. Is say sweet nothing of your EU rubbish.

    Why give you a summary when you could understand it nor believe anything it says?

    Note: Looks like yet another EU crackpot has joined the fray! The Thunderbolts.Info management’s current new plan to discredit current accepted theory and investigation. Expect more of this to come.

  • Salacious B. Crumb April 1, 2009, 12:38 PM

    OilIsMastery Says:
    “I thought you worship Einstein as an infallible omniscient demigod so how can his analysis be wrong?”

    I worship no one. It is science not religious hocus-pocus via fault dogma and faith. The only analyst whose wrong here is plainly you and your jackass EU nit-wits friends.

    Are you are also member of that ridiculous Dunderheads.Info cult?) I thought it was registered s a fringe religion as a tax dodge. Go figure? Science – you have no clue!

    Note: Looks like yet another EU crackpot has joined the fray! The Thunderbolts.Info management’s current new plan to discredit current accepted theory and investigation. Expect more of this to come.

  • 40_octaves April 1, 2009, 2:01 PM

    To Crumb,
    The sun is absolutely not a nuclear furnace, it is more aptly a florescent light bulb.

    You can stay on the titanic all the way or you can jump off and very cooly say ‘ I always knew EU to be true’

    Current cosmology theory is a disaster. If you don’t see this, than keep on sipping the kool aid. More over arching math will be coming forward soon to prop up the failed theories that you embrace.

  • Jon Hanford April 1, 2009, 2:05 PM

    Sal, you need to chill out. I’m certainly no fan of EU, PU, EC, AWT , Thunderbolts, etc. I was simply seeking comment on the paper posted with the computer animations, which is what this article is about. What are your views of the related paper?

  • Excalibur April 1, 2009, 3:43 PM

    @40_octaves

    Whatever you are smoking, can i have some ?

  • Salacious B. Crumb April 1, 2009, 3:52 PM

    @40_octaves
    “The sun is absolutely not a nuclear furnace, it is more aptly a florescent light bulb.”

    What? Then how come florescent lights are not hot and shine by a rarefied gas?

    I think when they induced the convulsive therapy with you, they just turned up the current too high!

    Fried brains – that all EU proponents in a nutshell!

    Note: Looks like yet another EU crackpot has joined the fray! The Thunderbolts.Info management’s current new plan to discredit current accepted theory and investigation. Expect more of this to come.

  • pantzov April 1, 2009, 6:01 PM

    mr. crumb.

    every thread i have read today in this forum contains you arguing with the “EU” people.
    you’re a long time poster here and respected. why not just let it go? you’re hurting your reputation.

  • Bear April 1, 2009, 10:42 PM

    I don’t know what u people are trying to say, its like…a rocket scientist convention explosion in my brain, just like the universe, it’s fun to pretend to understand sometimes eh?

  • Salacious B. Crumb April 1, 2009, 10:57 PM

    pantzov said
    “every thread i have read today in this forum contains you arguing with the “EU” people.
    you’re a long time poster here and respected. why not just let it go? you’re hurting your reputation.”

    EU continues to be been banned blog site after blog site floor the disruption they cause. They are effective eliminated from Wikipedia in editing, and now they target popular sites of Universe Today or even attack childrens’ sites to spread their almost religious-driven agenda.

    What do you do? Well you could put up with the deception and fraudulent tactic by an organised group, or do something about it. Surgical strikes is exactly how these people work, whose sole aim is to produce sufficient doubt to reject general tenets of science.
    Argue with them and you get non-sensible illogical arguments. You lose.
    Argue with scientific theory or using the scientific method. You lose.
    Argue sensibly, then they attempt discredit you – even off topic. You lose.
    Let them have their way and ignore them, we all lose.

    So should you prefer I just walk away or take the fight to them?

    Until some reasonable form of group moderation, I prefer the latter.

    Thanks for you concern.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell April 2, 2009, 8:08 PM

    It is sad that comments here have little to do with the actual work presented. Some of this is rather interesting IMO. The Reissner-Nordstrom one is has the infinte pulse of light at the second horizon. For a physical black hole, not one which is a classical “eternal black hole,” or a configuration variable on the vacuum, this infinte pulse of light involves all the field theoretic data which composed the black hole. In effect this is in the classical sense the singularity.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • Feenixx April 3, 2009, 3:41 AM

    @ND

    Mainly some (but not all) of his writings about health issues, especially his essays about HIV and AIDS.
    Apart from this: many (but not all) of his essays make references to unavailable information, giving rise to the suspicion that he possibly invented it. Citing his work as a source in a paper which will be reviewed by a peer or a teacher is likely to cause problems for the author.

    While many “fringe philosophers and scientists” appear to be involved for commercial considerations, and many more just because it’s “so cool and alternative”, I see David Pratt, motivated (very strangely) by a spiritual path, as dangerous for some groups of vulnerable people.

  • Feenixx April 3, 2009, 3:45 AM

    I realise my last post is totally off topic – that’s why I did not elaborate on the issue when I first mentioned it.
    ND asked for clarification, I would have supplied it in a personal message, if I had a log-in account.
    My apologies to UT.

  • ND April 3, 2009, 8:29 PM

    Feenixx,

    Thanks.

  • JN April 24, 2009, 1:48 AM
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