Black hole shredding star
From the BBC, a black hole has been spotted shredding a star. It got too close and was swallowed up. As for what happens to that star once it enters the event horizon – nobody really knows, but there is some interesting speculation from all sorts of people. One hypothesis has it that the Big Bang was, in fact, the event horizon of a black hole.
The logic here is that the Big Bang occured from a “singularity”, which is an infinitely dense collection of matter with no volume – which are also thought to exist in the centre of black holes. It has an interesting symmetry: black holes consume everything, but they also keep galaxies spinning AND they might be creating new universes.
However, this isn’t entirely correct, it turns out. The main difference is (according to a web search) that the Big Bang singularity lies in the past of all events in the universe, but the black hole singularity lies in the future. This raises the possibility that the Big Bang is a white hole, the time reversal of a black hole (i.e. it creates matter rather than consumes it, or at least as I understand it), but apparently they don’t have the same type of event horizon.
And to add to the whole “WTF moment”, the distinction between black and white holes isn’t as clear as it might seem, thanks to Steven Hawking and Hawking radiation. It appears that if quantum theory is taken into account, they glow slightly with radiation that is escaping the black hole and consists of mainly photons and neutrinos. However, this has not been confirmed to occur, as it is swamped by the radiation entering.
If anyone’s having a problem understanding this, I’m still not sure I do either!