Dive into the Black Hole

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The dive

Dive movie image at the horizon, 1 Schwarzschild radius.

Hey, why hang around in orbit? This time take a free fall radial dive, straight into the black hole (76K GIF movie icon movie); or same movie, double-size on screen (same 76K GIF).

The image at left is the view as we enter the horizon, at 1 Schwarzschild radius. From here to the singularity takes 0.000197 seconds of proper time (i.e. of our time as we experience it), for this 30 solar mass black hole. The infall time from the horizon is proportional to the mass of the black hole.

As in the first Falling into a Black Hole movie, the timing is wrong: in reality everything would happen in a terrific rush at the end. The proper time to fall radially in from radius r goes as r3/2.


Landing on a plane

Dive movie image at 0.056 Schwarzschild radii. Infinite flat plane.

Remarkably, as we approach the singularity, the view looks like we are falling not to a point, but rather on to a flat plane.

At left is the dive movie image at r = 0.056 from the singularity (in units where the Schwarzschild radius is one, rs = 1).

The image at right is that of an infinite flat plane in ordinary flat space, with no relativistic distortions at all. It looks distorted only because of the wide field of view (as with a fish eye lens): the field of view is 180o across the diagonal, as are all the Falling into a Black Hole movie images. The lines on the flat plane correspond to those in the movie image. Imagine flattening the Schwarzschild surface below us into a plane, keeping distances along the surface of the plane from our position (or rather from the position of the point on the surface directly below us) the same as great circle distances along the Schwarzschild surface. The image at right is this infinite flat surface, viewed from a height of r1/2 = 0.24 above the surface (units rs = 1 again).

Approaching the singularity would not of course feel like landing on a plane. The gravitational tidal forces, and the oscillations therein induced by our presence, grow to infinity. A spot of turbulence, you might say, except there's not much point in fastening your seat belt since that gets yanked to subatomic tilth along with everything else, including you.


 Back Back to Falling to the Singularity of the Black Hole

 Forward Forward to More about the Schwarzschild Geometry

 Home Andrew Hamilton's Homepage

 M84 STIS icon Other Relativity and Black Hole links

index | movie icon movies | approach | orbit | singularity | dive | Schwarzschild | wormhole | collapse | Hawking | quiz | home | links

Updated 19 Apr 1998