Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull

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Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull

What happens when I fall into a black hole?

Let's assume that you start outside the event horizon of the black hole. As you look toward it, you see a circle of perfect darkness. Around the black hole, you see the familiar stars of the night sky. But their pattern is strangely distorted, as the light from distant stars gets bent by the black hole's gravity.

As you fall toward the black hole, you move faster and faster, accelerated by its gravity. Your feet feel a stronger gravitational pull than your head, because they are closer to the black hole. As a result, your body is stretched apart. For small black holes, this stretching is so strong that your body is completely torn apart before you reach the event horizon.

If you fall into a supermassive black hole, your body remains intact, even as you cross the event horizon. But soon thereafter you reach the central singularity, where you are squashed into a single point of infinite density. You have become one with the black hole. Unfortunately, you are unable to write home about the experience.