• A scientist explained how black holes can stretch space-time
  • The gravity of dense cosmic objects can affect space-time
  • Approaching a black hole can cause time to stand still

An astrophysicist previously explained how traveling into a black hole would eventually cause time to stand still. According to the scientist, this is what will happen if a person falls into Milky Way’s supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*.

In the field of physics, space-time refers to a model where space and time are intertwined. It can be stretched and affected by various factors such as the gravitational force of an object with great mass.

Since black holes are known for their mass and powerful gravitational pull, it is widely believed that these cosmic objects can affect space-time. This means traveling to the center of a black hole could theoretically cause time to stop moving.

This subject was discussed by Emma Osbourne, an astrophysicist from the University of Southampton, during a previous New Scientist Live event. During a panel discussion, Osbourne explained how supermassive black holes can stretch space-time.

“If you were to stand just outside the event horizon of Sagittarius A*, and you stood there for one minute, 700 years would pass because time passes so much slower in the gravitational field there than it does on Earth,” she said during the event according to Express.

According to Osbourne, the more mass an object has, the more capable it is of stretching space-time due to the gravitational force it can exert. In Milky Way, Sagittarius A* is one of the densest objects in the galaxy, with a mass that’s over four million times that of the Sun.

“Anything mass will stretch space-time. And the heavier something is, or the more mass it has, the more it will stretch space-time,” Osbourne explained.

Unfortunately, even though black holes are capable of stretching space-time, a person falling into one will probably not be able to witness this effect. This is because as objects approach black holes, they immediately become subjected to their powerful gravitational pull.

As other scientists previously explained, falling into a black hole would cause the human body to undergo an excruciating process known as spaghettification. This means the body will be stretched to a point that it becomes a stream of matter falling into the black hole’s center.

Supermassive black hole
Artistic representation of a supermassive black hole. In 2010, Spitzer found two such black holes that formed a billion years after the birth of the universe. NASA/JPL-Caltech