Black Hole Fun Facts – WIF Space

Leave a comment

 

black hole

Fascinating Facts

About Black Holes

Black holes were first theorized by John Michell in 1783, and the theory was pushed forward in 1915 when Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity, in which he theorized their formation. Their existence wasn’t confirmed until 1971. Since then, research has continued into these mysterious regions that are sprinkled throughout the known universe.

10. Three Types of Black Holes

stellar

The first type of black holes is called stellar black holes (pictured above) and they are the smallest of the trio. They are created when a star that is larger than our sun collapses and continues to fall in on itself. While stellar black holes are relatively small, they are incredibly dense. For example, three times the mass of the sun can be packed into the area that is the size of a city on Earth. It is believed that there are a few hundred million stellar black holes in our galaxy.

On the other end of the size spectrum are supermassive black holes. Researchers aren’t sure how they are spawned, but their radius is about the size of the sun and their masses are billions of times greater than the sun. It is believed that they are at the center of galaxies, including our own.

Finally, intermediate black holes are mid-sized black holes. It is believed they are formed when there is a chain reaction collision of stars that are in a cluster. Researchers weren’t even sure that these existed until one wasdiscovered in 2014.

9. What Do they Look Like?

blackhole

Black holes can’t be observed because nothing, not even light, can escape from their boundaries, known as the event horizon, because the gravity is so strong. What we could observe is gas when it falls into a black hole because it is heated up, which causes the gases to glow. If we had telescopes or satellites to see a black hole up close, it would look like a rotating disk with a black hole in the middle.

8. Colliding Black Holes

On September 14, 2015, twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors picked up a small chirp from space. It turns out that chirp was a collision 1.3 billion years ago between two black holes a billion light years away. The black holes were about 29 and 36 times the mass of our sun. Before colliding, they circled each other and then in a fifth of a second, they became one black hole with the mass of 62 of our suns. When they combined, some of the mass was converted to energy and the energy emitted was gravitational waves. Gravitational waves were first theorized by Einstein, and they are a disturbance in the cosmos that could cause space-time to stretch, jiggle, and collapse, which would produce ripples of gravity. The problem was that there was no way to detect these gravitational waves and physicists, including Einstein himself, were never really sure they existed.

The discovery has already been hailed as one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the past century and Stephen Hawking said it is a key scientific moment that could change how we look at the universe.

7. Time Slows Down Around it

If you’ve seen Interstellar, you’ll know what happens when you travel near a black hole; time slows down. What is incorrect about the film is that the time dilation would not be quite that extreme.

Time dilation is ultimately affected by gravity, the stronger the gravity, the stronger the time dilation. Also, time only slows down once you get near the black hole, once you pass the event horizon, time would stop.

6. What’s at the Center?

blackholecenter

It is believed that the very center of a black hole is a time space curvature called singularity. As you get closer to singularity, large amounts of matter are crushed and jammed into immensely small and dense space. In fact, in singularity, matter is crushed to the point where it doesn’t even have dimensions. Singularity also grows infinitely bigger the farther objects travel into it. But since the insides of black holes are impossible to observe, singularity is only a theory and some physicists even question if it exists at all.

5. Closest Black Holes

Since black holes are so hard to detect, we aren’t exactly sure where the closest one is. At first, researchers believed the closest one was at the center of the Milky Way, but currently it is believed that V616 Mon (A0620-00) in the Monoceros constellation, about 3,000 light years away is the closest black hole.

4. Energy Source

energy

At first, it was believed that black holes were just energy drains because once something crosses the event horizon, it never leaves. But in the 1970s,Stephen Hawking showed that black holes should also emit power around the event horizon through a radiation, known as Hawking Radiation, and it is produced by quantum fluctuations of empty space. The obvious extension is: would we ever be able to harness that power? Well, some physicists believe that if we overcame the physical problems it would be possible to get energy from a black hole.

In 1983, a team of physicists suggested that an energy collecting device could be dropped in close to the event horizon and then we could simply pull it back up. It would be similar to getting water from a well with a rope and bucket. Obviously, you’d need a very strong bucket and rope to avoid being sucked in by the event horizon. Another way to collect energy would be to stick in “strings” and the radiation would run up it, the way oil runs up a wick in a gas lamp.

3. Could We Create One?

It goes without saying that black holes can be dangerous, so we definitely wouldn’t want to make one on Earth, right? Well, it turns out that we can theoretically make microscopic ones that are harmless. In 2014, using Hawking Radiation, researchers came close to mimicking a black hole in a lab. But at the time of this writing, one has not been created.

2. Evaporate Over Time

In the prior entries we talked about Hawking Radiation, which is energy found at the boundaries of the black hole. What is interesting is that this radiation also causes black holes to evaporate over long periods of time.

Why they evaporate comes down to quantum theory which suggests that virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time. When they pop into existence, a particle and an antiparticle combine and then they disappear again. But when the two particles pop into existence near the event horizon, they don’t cancel each other out. Instead, one falls into the black hole and the other goes off into space. Over time, the escaping particles cause the black hole to deteriorate. That means black holes die, just like everything else in the known universe. Except for Keith Richards, of course.

1. What Happens When You Fall In

fallintoblackhole

If you were to dive into a black hole that was the size of the Earth, your body would look like “toothpaste” coming out of a tube. Your body would be stretched out in what British astrophysicist, Sir Martin Rees, called “spaghettification.” Eventually, you would become a stream of subatomic particles that would swirl into the black hole. But, if you were to dive into a larger black hole, say one that is the size of our solar system, then your body may be able to hold its structural integrity.

If you survive that, you’ll see the curvature of space-time and you will be able to see everything that fell into the black hole before you and at the same time you’ll be able to see everything that will ever fall into the black hole. This means that you’ll be able to see the entire history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time, all at once.

Black Hole Fun Facts

WIF Space2-001

– WIF Space

Director Christopher Nolan – Fabulous Film Facts

2 Comments

Fabulous

Facts About the Films

of Christopher Nolan

With the release of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan has proven once again that he’ll go down as one of this generation’s great directors. At a box office crowded with sequels and reboots, Nolan dares to be original and still manages to produce one blockbuster success after another. Even a figure as iconic as Batman became Christopher Nolan’s Batman, and the director shaped how the superhero will be viewed for decades to come. Nolan’s films have produced a legion of fervent fans, and that’s let us produce a list of some facts you might not know about his work.

10. The Killing Joke Was a Major Inspiration for The Dark Knight

chrisnolan1

Alan Moore is best known for his graphic novel Watchmen, which was included in Time’s list of the best 100 novels of all time. He’s also the author of The Killing Joke, a graphic novel that provides an origin story for the Joker. The Killing Joke, like The Dark Knight, depicts an unreliable Joker who tells multiple versions of his past and explores his complicated relationship with Batman.

Christopher Nolan addressed The Killing Joke’s influence on Heath Ledger’s Joker in an interview with Variety: “…The Joker is an anarchist. He’s dedicated to chaos. He should really have no purpose but I think the underlying belief that Alan Moore got across very clearly is that on some level The Joker wants to pull everybody down to his level and show that he’s not an unusual monster and that everyone else can be debased and corrupted like he is.”

9. Memento is Based on a Short Story Called “Memento Mori” by Christopher Nolan’s Brother

chrisnolan2

“Memento Mori,” by Jonathan Nolan, reads as a prequel of sorts to Memento. It tells the story of a man named Earl who suffers from “backwards amnesia.” Every 10 minutes his memory resets, and he’s left with only the memories he had prior to the incident that left him brain damaged. At the beginning of “Memento Mori,” Earl wakes up in a mental hospital and later escapes.

This implies that Leonard from Memento was also in a mental hospital and escaped prior to the events of the film. A moment late in the movie would seem to support this: As Leonard is remembering Sammy Jankis, a man he once knew who shared his condition, he imagines Sammy sitting in a mental hospital. But then, for a split second, Sammy is replaced by Leonard.

8. The Entire Score of Inception is a Single Manipulated Beat From “Non, je ne Regrette Rien”

chrisnolan3

The song, composed by Charles Dumont and recorded by Edith Piaf in 1960, serves as a warning to wake up from the dream state in Inception. In aninterview with The New York Times, composer Hans Zimmer explained how he got a French scientist to extract a single note from the original recording of the song. Then he slowed it way, way down to varying degrees to create the movie’s epic score.

So when the dreamers hear those rumbling tones in the dream world, they’re actually hearing a single note from the song playing out around their waking bodies. Like the dreamers, the music has to deal with the progressive stretching and lengthening of time as they plunge deeper and deeper into the dream world. “Everybody thinks the dream is the important part,” Zimmer said. “For me, the time was the important part: the idea that, in a peculiar way, Chris had made a time-travel movie that actually worked.”

7. Christopher Nolan Loves Hiding Meaning in Characters Names

(L-R)  Hugh Jackman, Andy Serkis

The initials of the two main characters played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige spell ABRA (Alfred Borden and Robert Angier), as in the magical word “abracadabra.” And in Inception the first letter of each of the main characters’ names — Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur and Ariadne, Mal, Saito — spells “dreams.” We see what you did there, Chris.

6. Steven Spielberg Was Originally Going to Direct Interstellar 

chrisnolan4

In 2006, /Film reported that Steven Spielberg was developing a “space time travel film” he planned to direct. The film would tell the story of a group of explorers who travel through a wormhole and into another dimension. The idea traced back to a treatment by Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, known for his contributions to gravitational physics and astrophysics. Thorne claimed that wormholes exist and could be used to achieve time travel. Spielberg got the idea for the film after he attended a Caltech workshop with Thorne and other scientists. Jonathan Nolan was hired to write the screenplay for Spielberg, and Christopher stepped in to direct when Spielberg backed out. Given their respective approaches to film making, Spielberg’s Interstellar could have looked very different indeed.

5. Each Member of the Team in Inception Symbolizes a Role in Movie Development

chrisnolan5

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nolan explained that the role each member of the dream team in Inception plays has a movie equivalent. The Architect would be the production designer, the Forger would be the actor, the Point Man would be the producer, the Extractor would be the director and the Mark would be the audience. “In trying to write a team-based creative process, I wrote the one I know,” Nolan said.

4. A Song Sung by a Choirboy in Batman Begins andThe Dark Knight Rises Has Symbolic Meaning

chrisnolan6

A choirboy sings mournfully after the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents in Batman Begins. In an interview with Empire, Hans Zimmer explains that this symbolizes Bruce Wayne’s inability to move forward after his parents’ deaths. Zimmer said, “If you listen really carefully in the first film, there’s this little choir boy at one point, and what the choir boy does, through electronic trickery and too much time spent in the studio, his note actually freezes and goes on for about four minutes. I know that’s really dodgy symbolism, but we literally froze him in time.”

This theme doesn’t return until the very end of The Dark Knight Rises, as Batman flies over the sea toward a new future. The little boy sings one last time as Bruce Wayne unshackles himself from his tragic past.

3. Nolan’s First Feature Film

Had a Budget of $6,000

chrisnolan7

Following is a con man/murder drama made on a teensy-tiny budget. To put it in perspective, Memento cost $4.5 million while The Dark Knight had a budget of a cool $185 million. Nolan said in an interview with the A.V. Club, “Following was a film that I made knowing I couldn’t get any money for it, knowing that I was going to have to pay for it myself. I wasn’t a wealthy person. Everyone involved in the film was, you know, working full-time and trying to get by in London, which is difficult and expensive. But we figured out that if you shot in 16mm black and white, which made the lighting much easier to set up, we could shoot 15 minutes of footage every week, and pay for that, and keep going one day a week as we earned money through our various jobs.”

It may have been be this early penny pinching that enabled Nolan to now, as Danny Boyle told Deadline, “take $160 million and make it look like $320 million.”

2. Several Cast Members of Following Have Cameos In Batman Begins

chrisnolan9

Jeremy Theobold, the male lead in Following, plays a Wayne Enterprises water board technician who points out that the water pressure is spiking toward the end of the film. Lucy Russell, Following’s female lead, defends Batman to other guests during a dinner Bruce Wayne attends at a restaurant. John Nolan, Christopher’s uncle and the policeman in Following, plays a Wayne Enterprises board member who’s loyal to Bruce’s father and tells Bruce that “the apple has fallen very far from the tree” at his birthday party.

1. Inception Took Nolan 10 Years to Write

chrisnolan10

In an interview with Deadline, Nolan explained how the idea for Inception hadburned in him for a long time before he was able to get it right. His great breakthrough was realizing the emotional center of the story: Dom’s love for his wife and his determination to get home to his children.

He pointed out the value of not giving up on one’s ideas: “I certainly have other ideas I’ve not been able to crack that I see great potential in, sitting in the back of a drawer. You never quite know what you’re going to come back to and figure out how to make it work. You never quite know where that desire to finish something, or return to something in a fresh way, is going to come from. Every time I finished a film and went back and looked at it, I had changed as a person. The script was different to me. And, eventually, who I was as a writer, as a filmmaker, and what the script needed to be, all these things coincided.”

Director Christopher Nolan

– Fabulous Film Facts