black_hole_image SINGULARITY

I’m always fascinated when two distinct time frames occur “simultaneously.”

Looking from the outside at Alice disappearing into a black hole seems to take forever, thinks Bob, who stays on Earth to observe. Eventually, her light red shifts and fades to the point where it’s indistinguishable from the background of space and the black hole.

However the viewpoint of Alice vanishing is quite different. Travellng at near the speed of light and near a strong gravitational field makes her clocks operate slower.

To Alice , as she falls into a black hole the entire universe is both speeding up and, in the direction of motion, condensing or constricting in front, making going back impossible.

If Bob waits long enough, he’ll reach a point where he will never be able to see Alice again. None of her light or transmissions can escape the black hole.

Alice, however, could watch another twenty years of Bob’s accelerated life “history,” before she’d need to be concerned about the increasing gravitational pressures that eventually stretch her into spaghetti.



I love the wordplay within this sonnet and the paradoxical juxtaposition of “plummets with “infinite amount of time.”  The word “clime” is a deliberate choice to connote “climb,” which of course nothing can do out of a black hole.

For those readers who prefer their poetry without the graphics (although you have to admit it adds a certain dimension here to see the stanzas drawn into the black hole’s orbit) I present the raw text here:




A black hole’s like a giant ball of string.

It twines its bulk around its central core

where space-time’s structure loses all meaning –

first stretched then flattened, it’s matter no more.


Spaghettified and accelerated,

all spools onto its hidden central mass,

and races near light speed, unabated,

until it seems (from outside) time won’t pass.


In this near infinite amount of time,

mass plummets through the sphere Schwarzschild defined

and, downward, speeds through this turbulent clime,

confounding physics, boggling the mind.


Past this horizon, time and space reverse

and form a point outside our Universe.



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