Skip to Content
Uncategorized

A black hole with a view

Physicists have calculated what the universe would look like from inside a black hole, and not just for fun


Ever wondered what it’s like to fall into a black hole? Wonder no more! Andrew Hamilton at JILA at the University of Colorado and a pal, Gavin Polhemus, have created a video showing what it might look like (10MB .avi). And it’s an impressive peice of work.

Hamilton provides a commentary for this and other videos which dismisses some of the myths that have grown up around black holes, such as the notion that falling inside one would engulf you in darkness.

Not by any means. According to Hamilton and Polhemus, inside a black hole the view in the horizontal plane is highly blueshifted, but all directions other than horizontal appear highly redshifted.

The work is not just for fun. In fact, 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 breaking point.

Take the principle of locality, which seems to be 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 throws up some entertaining corollaries. 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 trinocular vision could the trick instead, he adds.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0903.4717: The Edge of Locality: Visualizing a Black Hole from the Inside



Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.