Subtle Coolness · chrono index · alpha index

Black Holes

by William Jackson on 2006-11-14

Iʼm here in my Astronomy lecture learning about black holes. Iʼve been told some interesting things.

There are three things about a black hole that scientists can measure (in theory): mass, spin, and electric charge. And thatʼs it. There is no way to tell anything else about a black hole.

There is no way to tell what a black hole is made of. It could be made of hydrogen and helium that used to be part of a star, or it could be made of ice cream. It could be made of photons that canʼt get away, or it could be made of puppy dogs that donʼt want to leave.

Black holes arenʼt very dangerous, unless you really want a closeup look. For example, if the mass of the Sun were compressed until it formed a black hole, and said black hole were placed at the top of the tower at the University of Texas, I could relocate to Round Rock and I would be just fine. Everything within a three kilometer radius of the hole would, unfortunately, be consumed.

In that case, black holes would be made of students, faculty, staff, statues of Civil War heroes, and Spanish-style architecture.