We’re done with Time Warp in my previous article “TIME”. (You can catch up with it if you missed it, at this link ) Well, that was about Time Warp. Similar to this phenomenon is another provocative phenomenon – Space Warp. Black Holes remain one of the most intriguing topics of all time. These are beneath our immediate reach! Out there somewhere in the Outer Space, where probably no one has ever been to! Though unseen, we have various impressions about them. Stephen Hawking is the person most credible for the discovery of the insights on the Black Hole (Apart from Sir Albert Einstein obviously!). Hearing the word Black Hole, the commonest thought that occurs in our mind is, “What would happen if I fell in a Black Hole?” Well, the question is in fact quite significant, considering the fact that no one has actually experienced such a fall and come back to Earth to share his/her experience. The answer to this question can be explained based on theoretical conclusions only.
First off, let’s know what a Black Hole is or how it is formed. A Black Hole is a place where the Laws of Physics are defied. Einstein has taught us that gravity warps space itself, causing curves in that region and leading to the formation of empty space in that particular region. So, given a dense enough object, space-time can become so warped that it twists in on itself, burrowing a hole through the very fabric of reality.
An enormous star that has run out of fuel can produce that kind of density, leading to the formation of such Space Warps, called Black Holes. The star, when collapses into itself due to loss of energy, creates so high a Gravitational field that not even light can escape from that region. Such a warp in space is termed as a Black Hole.
The outermost boundary of a black hole is termed as the Event Horizon. This is the exact region which plays a major role in counteracting light’s efforts of escaping the region, by making use of its high gravitational field. The Event Horizon is ablaze with energy. The Quantum Effects at the edge give rise to streams of hot particles which are radiated out into the universe. These radiations are termed as “Hawking Radiations”, after the English Physicist Stephen Hawking, who first predicted it. If observed for enough time, the results would state that the Black Hole radiated out all its mass and soon vanished.
As one goes deeper into the Black Hole, it is found that the space becomes curvy. When at its center, the space will look infinitely curved. This is the Singularity. At this point, all the Laws of Physics, as we know them, are defied. No one knows what happens there. It is a Big Mystery.
But What exactly happens if you fall into one of these Cosmic aberrations? This question still remains unanswered by me! So let’s look at it from this perspective. We’ll start by imagining that two people, John and Sean are out on a Space Walk. Suddenly, Sean gets plunged into the Black Hole while John watches helplessly, though being at a safe position himself. From the point where John is standing, things are about to get ugly.
John might see Sean stretch and contort as he accelerates towards the event horizon. This would look like as if John was watching Sean through a magnifying glass, changing its Principal focus at each instant. What’s more surprising is that he might see Sean’s velocity decreasing continually, as he neared the event horizon. He would seem to be going in slow motion as he neared the event horizon. Sean could obviously not shout out, as space has no medium of sound propagation. But let’s say he has a sharp flashlight, through which he sends a morse code. The morse code would too appear to reach John ever more slowly due to rapid change in frequencies of light. An example of this message can be – “Help, H e l p, H e l p…….”
As Sean reaches the horizon, John can observe that he is stuck there, motionless. Sean would seem to remain plastered there, waiting to be engulfed by heat radiations. According to John, Sean is obliterated by the stretching of space and soon enough, dies. He is reduced to ash even before he can cross the horizon to witness the dark, pitch black part of the Black Hole.
But Pause for a bit. Before we declare that Sean is dead, we have to consider the fall from his perspective too. And quite surprisingly, a very strange thing happens to Sean according to himself-NOTHING!
What Sean would see is that he is falling freely into the hole without even a small harm as a bump or a jiggle! This is because there is no gravity, though a pull due to the long hole! It’s a freefall. This is what Einstein had described as his “happiest thought”. The Event Horizon is after all, just an imaginary, visual deception, just as the horizon observed on the earth by us! It’s certainly not a brick wall mid-air! So, the observer outside may see it due to the constant position of his eyes with respect to the Black Hole. But Sean’s position is changing continuously. So, as far as he is concerned, there is no horizon!
Only if the Black Hole was a smaller one, Sean would have a problem, since, it would then mean that more gravitational force is applied on his lower body (towards the lower end of the hole) than his upper body, leading to his body being twirled as a spaghetti! But we are assuming that this is a Large Black Hole! In fact, in such a large Black Hole, Sean could have lived his entire life pretty much normally, till he reached singularity and died.The feeling of being sucked in without being able to overcome the force might be a factor that might be worrying you for Sean. But, honestly, we all go through such a situation each moment. The only difference is that we deal with Time in the same way as Sean might deal with space! Time is ever moving and does not wait for anyone. So does the space for Sean in his case! Inside the Black hole, space and time swap roles. In a sense, it is actually time that pulls Sean in towards singularity. He can’t turn around and move out of the Black Hole the same way we can’t move back in Time.
At this point, one question arises in our minds. If Sean himself says that he is alright, why was John ready to swear upon the fact that Sean had really died? Was he hallucinating?
The answer is NO. He was being perfectly reasonable in his own way! It was not an illusion. He could have still collected Sean’s ash for his family members, even though Sean was actually evermore happy and living! But, the laws of nature require that Sean remain outside the Black Hole as seen from John’s perspective. Even quantum physics demands that information can never be lost. Every piece of information stating your existence in the universe has to be on this side of the horizon, or else John’s Laws of Physics will be broken.
But, for the Laws to be correct on Sean’s side, he must sail through the horizon without encountering anything harmful or out of the ordinary, lest it be in violation with Einstein’s “Happiest Thought”.
So, Laws of Physics require Sean to be on both sides of the horizon. Lastly, the law also states that information can’t be cloned. So, Sean has to be in two places but there has to be only one copy of him. These derivations out of the Laws of Physics point us out to a rather nonsensical conclusion! This infuriating conundrum is called the Information Paradox by Physicists.
But, in the late 1990s, luckily, Leonard Susskind and his team were able to establish that it was no paradox, beacause, Sean didn’t see his own clone and John didn’t see that Sean had lived, crossing the Horizon. The Horizon was a limitation between the two. So, both have their own stories! There is no true or false story here! Apart from John and Sean, there was no third observer, who saw laws being broken on both sides! So, there are two realities. One is John’s reality and the other is Sean’s. These can’t be compared.
Soon, a new concept of knowing who is correct was developed by scientists. Let’s have a strong and highly tensile entanglement connecting Sean and John. If Sean lived, John would lose, rendering Laws of Physics on John’s side to be broken. If he died, the opposite would happen! Apart from this, the entanglement decoder with John would take So much time to decode the correct answer to the riddle that the Black Hole might have even vanished from the universe, let alone Sean’s death! At such a juncture, you might have a thought, “Come on! Send John into the Black Hole already!”