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Black Holes Encyclopedia
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FAQ

What happens when you get close to a black hole?

The exact effects depend on the size and mass of the black hole. A "stellar-mass" black hole - a black hole that's a few times the mass of the Sun - exerts a strong "tidal" pull on any object that approaches its event horizon. That is the same effect that creates the tides on Earth: the gravitational pull on the side of the object that is closest to the black hole is significantly stronger than the pull on the opposite side, so gravity stretches the object and pulls it apart. (Tidal gravity is less pronounced for an object that approaches a supermassive black hole, because there's a gentler "slope" in the changing gravity field.) As seen from an outside observer, time appears to pass slower for an object that nears the horizon, and its light is stretched to longer and longer wavelengths.

Other FAQs

What is a black hole?

Do black holes really exist?

Are any black holes close to Earth?

Will our Sun become a black hole?

What is the biggest black hole?

How does a black hole form?

Are black holes 'doorways' to other parts of the universe?

Can anything ever escape from a black hole?

How many black holes are there?

How can a black hole's own gravity, but not light, escape from it?

Where did the name 'black hole' come from?

How are black holes named?

Will our universe become a black hole?

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