..


The Conversation

  • Written by Janie Hoormann, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Astrophysics, The University of Queensland

This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky!

You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based on Curious Kids.

Hi. My name is Merion and my question to Curious Kids is: where do black holes lead to? – Merion, age 9, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Hi Merion. First, let’s start off with what black holes are.

Black holes can form when a massive star dies. Stars have a lot of mass which means there is a lot of gravity pulling in on the star. Gravity is the same force that keeps you on Earth so you don’t float into space!

These stars are also made up of very hot gas which lets off a lot of heat. This creates a force which pushes on the star from the inside out.

Normally the pull from gravity and the push from the heat balance each other out. But, as the star gets older, it burns up all of the fuel and there isn’t anything left to push out anymore. Now gravity takes over and all of the mass of the star falls in on itself into a single point. This is what we call a black hole.

Read more: Curious Kids: Does space go on forever?

You will never be able to escape a black hole

Because black holes are made up of a lot of mass squished into a very small area of space (in science speak we say black holes are very dense) they create a lot of gravity. This pulls in anything that gets too close.

The pull they create is so strong that if you get too close to a black hole – even if you are travelling away from it at the fastest speed it is possible to go – you will never be able escape. This is what astronomers call the event horizon. Once you are inside the event horizon of the black hole you will never be able to leave.

Where do black holes lead to? An artist’s impression of a black hole. Shutterstock

Black holes were given that name because if you were to take a picture of one, you wouldn’t be able to see anything. No light would be able to escape the black hole and make it to the camera (and after all, all a camera does is record light). You would just see a picture of the universe with a dark circle around where the black hole sits.

Sadly, it is really hard to get a camera good enough to take pictures like that. Instead, astronomers study black holes by looking at the stuff that is getting sucked into the black holes, before it gets too close and goes past the event horizon. There is no way for us to see what happens once you get inside.

So, where do they lead to?

Now to the big question: what happens once you go into a black hole and past the event horizon? The answer is that we don’t actually know yet. We are still trying to figure that out!

One idea is that black holes form things called wormholes. You can read this Curious Kids article to find out all about wormholes.

These wormholes act as tunnels between two different parts of the space. This means that you could step into a black hole and end up in a completely different part of our universe. You might even end up in a different universe!

Astronomers have spent a lot of time trying to describe how wormholes could form and work. We won’t know for sure if that is really what happens once you go through a black hole though until we figure out a way to see it happen.

Maybe one day you will become a scientist and help us find these answers. Your excellent question shows you are on the right track.

Read more: Curious Kids: Why do you have to wear a helmet in space?

Hello, curious kids! Have you got a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to us. You can:

* Email your question to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au * Tell us on Twitter by tagging @ConversationEDU with the hashtag #curiouskids, or * Tell us on Facebook

Where do black holes lead to? CC BY-ND Please tell us your name, age and which city you live in. You can send an audio recording of your question too, if you want. Send as many questions as you like! We won’t be able to answer every question but we will do our best.

Authors: Janie Hoormann, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Astrophysics, The University of Queensland

Read more http://theconversation.com/curious-kids-where-do-black-holes-lead-to-98557

Politics

Independent Parliamentary Budget Office exposes Shorten's lies

Bill Shorten's false claims about so-called insecure work lie in tatters today, following an analysis published by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).  The PBO’s independent analysis...

Union demands paint a bleak future under Shorten

It’s time for Bill Shorten to come clean and rule out extreme changes to Australia’s industrial relations laws that would wind the clock back to the strike-torn Whitlam era.   As the ACTU prepares...

Doorstop at AKD Sawmill with Trevor Ruthenberg, LNP Candidate for Longman

MR TREVOR RUTHENBERG, LNP CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN: Well morning folks. Welcome to Caboolture, welcome to Longman. This is a fantastic day for local jobs. This is a fantastic day for our community. ...

Business News

Artificial stone dust: the new asbestos

Calls for national ban on dry cutting techniques and tougher penalties amid new cases of tradies sick from toxic dustLeading plaintiff law firm Shine Lawyers is calling for a national ban on dry cutti...

Top Tips if You’re Thinking About Quitting Your Day Job and Starting a Small Business

Are you fed up with working for another person and long to be your own boss? Do you think you’d like to take over a local business that’s up for sale? Would you like to make your hobby into somethin...

What is the best structure to use when starting up a business

Coco Hou, tax specialist and accountant, has shared her advice for people who are starting up their own businesses, setting up side gigs, or moving into consultancy work. The start of the new financ...

Travel

Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane

TFE Hotels has opened the doors of the spectacular new Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane, which offers stunning views over the Brisbane River and awe-inspiring interiors that transport guests back to t...

Winter In Rotorua: Things To Do

While many travelers consider the summer months to be the prime traveling season, there are thousands and thousands of travelers who love to take to their campervan hire australia journeys when the ...

Discover Hong Kong Your Way With Ecruising

From July – November 2018, Ecruising in partnership with Hong Kong Tourism and Royal Caribbean, including Azamara and Celebrity Cruises are offering travellers new and exclusive cruising itinerari...

You might also like