Dark, mysterious and consuming everything around them, black holes will rip apart anything that passes their event horizons. But could there be more? What would happen if you fell into one of those monstrosities? How could you possibly travel through the black hole itself? And if you emerged on the other side, where would you end up?
Black holes aren’t that much different than any other object in the Universe that has mass. Except that they are really, really dense. At their center is a singularity, a basically infinite small point where all their matter is compressed. The more matter that’s packed into a black hole’s singularity, the stronger its gravitational pull.
Considering some black holes are the remnants of stars with more than 10 times the mass of our Sun, they have a lot of gravity. And every black hole has an event horizon. This is the point of no return. Once you cross that, there’s no way back out. Unless you traveled as fast as the speed of light, you wouldn’t be able to escape it.
We don’t know exactly what happens to something beyond the event horizon because once something is past it, there’s no way of sending a message back. But odds are gravity would rip you apart atom by atom. Unless there was some other way out? If you were lucky enough, you wouldn’t just be venturing into the unknown depths of any normal black hole.
You’d be crossing the event horizon of a charged black hole equipped with a one-way wormhole that connects the black hole with a white hole. Now, white holes are strange. Instead of consuming all matter in their path like black holes do, they only spit stuff back out into space. And nothing is able to enter a white hole.
Except you wouldn’t just cross the event horizon and end up spat out on the other side. You’d better be ready for one of the most mind-blowing experiences the Universe has to offer. As you were preparing for the trip of a lifetime on the outskirts of the black hole, you’d see stars twisted around a perfect circle of darkness.
It’s too bad there wouldn’t be much time to enjoy the view. This gravitational monster would start pulling you toward it, faster and faster. The gravitational force of a black hole is unbelievably strong. It’s so strong that it would turn you into spaghetti. If you were falling feet-first, your legs would experience a significantly more intense gravitational pull than your head.
Your body would get stretched into oblivion. Well, we don’t want that to happen to you just yet. So let’s say you’d fall into a wormhole just before the black hole ripped you apart. And don’t forget that you’d be traveling through not just any black hole, but a charged one. Not only would there be a wormhole lurking inside it, this black hole would also have two event horizons.
But as you were crossing the space between the two points of no return, you’d likely not realize that has happened. You’d be in free fall. And as you’d fall deeper, you’d find the black circle in front of you appear to grow bigger and bigger. If the black hole were as large as the one at the center of the Milky Way, this would take about 20 seconds.
With all the painful spaghettification you’d be experiencing, these 20 seconds would seem to last for eternity. But once you approached the inner horizon, the black hole would appear to stop expanding. And then surprisingly, it would seem to shrink. Almost like you’d started falling away from it.
For a moment, you might think you’ve already cleared it. But this wouldn’t be the case. It would only be an optical illusion. You’d still be in freefall. This trick on the eyes is caused by something known as relativistic beaming. All it would do is squeeze what you see in front of you to make it appear as if like the black hole was shrinking.
And the light from the rest of the Universe outside the black hole would appear brighter around its edges. As you’d finally pass the inner horizon, that wouldn’t be the only light you’d see. At this point, you’d be overwhelmed by an energetic bright burst. And not just any boring old burst of light.
You’d be witnessing a reflection of the entire history of our Universe seen through the singularity of the black hole. Within the inner event horizon, you’d now be careening through the wormhole connecting you to the white hole. But if you thought being stretched was bad enough, think again. You’d be trapped in an extremely unstable phenomenon.
The enormous gravitational forces of the black hole would threaten to obliterate the wormhole any second. As you were crossing the second event horizon, you’d see another energetic burst of light. But this time, instead of seeing a reflection of the Universe’s entire past, you’d see its future. Keep in mind this wouldn’t be the future of the Universe as you know it.
You wouldn’t just be passing through the singularity of the black hole and out the other side. No, you’d be about to get spewed out by a white hole into a completely different Universe from your own. Finally, you’d be out of the white hole. As the distance between you and it increased, you’d also see all the light from our current Universe that came along for the ride with you.
Congratulations, you’d be the first person to explore an entirely new Universe. There could be so many incredible things for you to discover. You could find yourself in a parallel Universe. Another version of you could be living the best life you’d always imagined for yourself. But hey, you’ve just traveled through a black hole, so how much better could it get?
Unfortunately, the news might not all be good. You could be stuck having to follow completely different laws of physics from the ones we know. Gravity could be weaker, stronger or even totally nonexistent. And the building blocks of matter could be made from dark matter. Or it could be made up of antimatter.
In which case, your mind-blowing joyride would be about to meet a deadly end. Antimatter and ordinary matter, like what you are made of, would annihilate each other upon contact. And the worst of all, you wouldn’t be able to just turn around and return home. Remember, you couldn’t jump back into the white hole because it doesn’t suck anything into it.
This was a one-way trip, sorry. Hope it was all fun while it lasted. Maybe it would be nicer if you could see into a black hole before falling through it. What would that look like?
- “What Happens At The Center Of A Black Hole?”. Paul Sutter. 2022. space.com.
- “What Exactly Is A Black Hole Event Horizon (And What Happens There)?”. Charles Q. Choi. 2019. space.com.
- “We Can Build A Real, Traversable Wormhole … If The Universe Has Extra Dimensions”. Paul Sutter. 2022. space.com.
- “Journey Into And Through A Reissner-Nordström Black Hole”. 2022. jila.colorado.edu.
- “Antimatter | Definition & Facts”. 2022. britannica.com.