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Black Holes and General RelativityThe concept of a black hole is extremely recent when compared to the subjects of physicsand science as a whole. The concept was first introduced in 1783 by a Cambridge instructornamed John Michell; however he did not suggest that such a thing existed, his point was purelyhypothetical(Hawking 81). His conjecture comes millennia after people such as Aristotle andPtolemy, and several centuries after the man considered to be the “father of modern science andphysics,” Galileo Galilei. Perhaps black holes would have been more of a fixture in the scientificworld had they not been…black. A black hole is a massively dense region of space-time, whichhas a feature known as an event horizon. The event horizon of a black hole is the spherical shapesurrounding the mass, that when penetrated by an object, that object can never return from theblack hole or go anywhere but eventually towards the center mass. At the very center of a blackhole, it is predicted that there is something known as a “singularity,” a point in space-time wherethere isinfinite density. The point has infinite density because it has no volume, but it does havea mass. At this point gravity is infinitely distorted, thus space-time is as well. Time ceases toexist at this point, and Stephen Hawking calls this point “the end of time.” Because the gravity ofa black hole is so strong, nothing can escape it once it has crossed the event horizon, not evenlight. Light does not get away from the black hole, but instead just barely fails to reach the eventhorizon, and remains trapped behind it (Hawking 99). Because of this, they are unable to be seenas stars; instead they are only noticed because of their gravitational pull on objects outside of theevent horizon. If a person were to cross the event horizon of a black hole, they would see thistrapped light trying to escape. But from any other point at a distance from the black hole, thislight could not be observed. Even light is bent by the presence of a black hole near it; light raysare noticeably curved when they are in the general vicinity of a black hole. In principle, black
holes occur where objects with huge masses are compressed to tiny regions of space (relative tothe mass).If a person were to try to explore a black hole out of pure curiosity, primarily it would bea very dumb idea. There would be no way of relaying any information back to outside observers,even if it was sent at the speed of light; light cannot escape the immense gravity of a black hole.