Astronomy Wonder Project

What happens when matter goes through a black hole and how do scientists find this out?

Answer: When any matter is close enough to a black hole, the extreme gravity of the black hole will spaghettify the mater by stretching and pulling it into a long strand that is then pulled down into the black hole, and can never come back out. Scientists know this by many years of research and data collection, by watching black holes closely and using powerful telescopes and satellites, to moniter how a black hole works.

I have always been curious about black holes and what happens when objects go through them, and so for this inquiry project, I decided to find out what really happens.

A black hole is an invisible place in space that has such a strong gravitational pull that even light cannot escape. They are formed by a star that is compressed into a much smaller, very dense object. When a star reaches the end of it’s life it explodes in a supernova, and sends some of the outer layers of itself outward, and its core compresses into a tiny ball. Because the star was so big and has been compressed into a object sometimes millions of times smaller, it has a gigantic gravitational pull.

The Event Horizon is a line on a black hole, where anything beyond that line is unable to ever get back across it. The black hole has such a strong gravitational pull, that inside the event horizon even light cannot escape. Outside of the event horizon, there is an accretion disk, which is a ring of gas and dust that is collected. When any matter is close enough to a black hole, the gravity of the hole will pull the the matter closer and closer, and will stretch and pull it into a long strand that is then pulled down into the black hole. This is called spaghettifcation, as the matter is stretched into a very long strand, and can even be pulled so far apart that is is the molecules lined up.

Black holes give off radiation and gamma rays but both of these forms of energy are invisible to the human eye. When a star and a black hole are very near to each other, light is given off but usually in the form of X-rays. Scientists observe black holes by monitoring the radiation that comes from the black hole, and to do this, they use X-ray satellites and telescopes to watch for the levels of radiation. Gamma rays are also sent from black holes and can be detected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma Ray Telescope, and the European Southern Observatory. Another way scientists can spot black holes, is if they see a star that is moving with a strong force of gravity as if there is a large object close. Because black holes are invisible to the human eye, scientists will use X-ray telecropes or satellites to see if there is radiation coming from the object, and moniter for waves of gamma rays or X-rays.