Myths, Misconceptions, and the Real Science of Black Holes

Black holes are some of the most extreme objects known to science.  They can be over 1 billion times the mass of our Sun, with gravitational fields that swallow whole stars (indeed, whole star systems), and they mangle spacetime itself. Yet, despite their allure among space geeks, for the most part, many people don’t properly understand the science of black holes.

Luckily, PBS Studios has a fix.

In a new video by PBS Spacetime on Youtube, astrophysicist Dr. Gabe Perez-Giz walks viewers through the science of black holes, explaining and correcting some all-too-common misconceptions.  As it turns out, our most elemental notions about black holes – that they have event horizons from which light cannot escape, that they’re “infinitely dense,” or that it’s even possible to watch something fall in a black hole (just to name a few) – are either dramatically oversimplified or totally wrong.

Dr. Perez-Giz’s begins the video with a blunt promise: “I’m gonna make you rethink all of it, down to what the term ‘black hole’ even means.”  He delivers on that promise, proving beyond any doubt that black holes really are among the most incredible objects in our universe.

 

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