Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson gruesomely described how humans will die if they get sucked into a black hole. According to the scientist, the human body will go through an excruciating process called spaghettification once this happens.

For years, astronomers have warned about the possibility of Earth getting devoured by a black hole. Some of them even said that there’s a chance that a black hole could open up on Earth.

According to astronomers, a black hole is a powerful cosmic object that can absorb everything in its surroundings including light. Although reports have been written regarding the effects of black holes on other cosmic objects such as galaxies, not much is known about how the human body will react to a black hole.

During a previous lecture at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Tyson tackled the topic of what it would be like if humans get sucked into a black hole. Due to the immense power of black holes, Tyson noted that dying at the hands of these cosmic objects will be extremely painful and brutal.

According to Tyson, although the strong pull of a black hole will instantly snap a person’s spine, he or she will not die immediately.

“The point comes where you snap into two – likely to happen at the base of your spine – now you are two pieces,” he said during the lecture. “It turns out you will survive that snap because below your waist, while there are important organs, there are no vital organs.”

“So your torso will stay alive for a little while, until you bleed to death, but it all happens much faster,” Tyson added.

Tyson noted that as the body goes through the black hole, it will continue to stretch until it becomes one continuous stream of matter. The astrophysicist noted that this stage is called spaghettification.

“In fact, while you’re getting stretched, you’re getting squeezed, extruded through the fabric of space like toothpaste through a tube,” Tyson explained. “Now we have a word for that, it’s called spaghettification, invented for just this purpose.”

“One thing we’re good at in English is having words for ways to die,” he added.

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