If black holes are singularities, what do people mean when they refer to a small, medium, or large black hole?

Asked by anonymous


 A singularity is a rip in space-time, and this “rip” is the very center point of a black hole. This point is so small that it actually has no volume. If we define size in terms of volume, or the amount of space occupied, singularities don’t vary in size, because all of them contain no volume.

Although singularities don’t contain any volume, they contain all the mass of the black hole. If we do a quick math calculation, in which we use the fact that density = (mass) / (volume), we find that black holes have infinite density.

If someone were to throw you into a black hole, you would first pass the event horizon: the point of no return, the point where the gravity of the singularity doesn’t allow anything to escape. Assuming you’re going in feet-first, your feet and legs, hitting the horizon first and being pulled into the singularity, would be stretched and stretched. The rest of your body would follow suit, and you would turn into something akin to spaghetti. The official term for this process is “spaghettification”— we kid you not. You would probably already be dead at this point, but if you weren’t, you would get to experience falling into the singularity and getting all your mass squeezed into a space with no volume. The singularity would assimilate your mass and you would become part of it.

Now, the size of the black hole itself is quantified by the radius, or distance from the singularity to the event horizon. This distance can range from a tenth of a millimeter to more than 400 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Keep in mind that light, the fastest thing in the universe, takes 8 minutes to make that journey from the Sun to the Earth.

Generally speaking, the radius of the black hole is correlated to the mass of its singularity. The mass of a singularity can vary from the mass of the moon to the mass of our sun, multiplied by 10 to the 10th power. We refer to the black holes at the top of this range as supermassive black holes, and their mass usually lies between 198,900,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and 19,890,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilogrammes. In fact, these numbers are so large that there is actually no standard unit prefix for this amount of mass.

To read more, check out this article about the different sizes and types of black holes.

Answered by Deiter H., Expert Leader.

Edited by Jamie V.

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i’m still so fucking astounded – and not in a good way – that anyone ever thought the ‘let’s melt tons upon tons of gold to kill the dragon with it’ thing in desolation of smaug was a good idea. like, that entire fucking sequence from the point where they reach the forges

how on earth did this even get past the script stage

did some producer really really want a gold-covered dragon or what? bc even if you ignore that gold melts at pretty high fucking temperatures (aka 1000°C) and consequently not that fast, and okay, iron melts at higher temperatures than that but guess what, metal is really good at conducting heat so thorin should have like fifth-degree burns if he could survive that surftour at all (speaking of which, air is a shitty heat conductor but just like you don’t waltz up to an active volcano without protective gear, getting a giant-ass stream of super hot fire shot past you at a distance of half a meter will at least leave blisters), even if you ignore all of that, there’s still the fact that

gold is really, really heavy.

like, a ton of water fits into a cube with an edge length of 1 meter. a ton of gold fits into a cube with an edge length of about 37 centimeters. that’s less than 1/8 of the volume a ton of water takes up.

my point is, you would need so many tons of gold to fill up that statue. idk if anyone’s ever run the numbers, but my guess is somewhere in the low millions. and that’s just the gold in the forges, not the mountains of coins and shit that fill up the treasury.

tl;dr: suspension of disbelief is not a bottomless well.

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1200 of you. Wow! I really can’t believe that I’ve gotten this many. I’ve not had this blog longer than a year and there are already this many?? WOW. It’s incredible and I’m truly honoured! 

Through my time here, I’ve met some wonderful people and made friendships that I don’t ever want to end. You’ve all made my experience here absolutely wonderful and I can’t thank you enough! My apologies in advance in case I’ve missed anyone because I can be entirely scatterbrained sometimes.

The Opals- The friends I’ve made that made this blog oh so worth it in the end. Even though I’ve doubted myself time after time, these people have stuck by and become wonderful friends. I’ll never take you for granite. If you hover over your URL, you should be able to see a personalized message for you~

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The Pearls- The blogs I look up to and quietly admire from afar  while being too scared to talk to so this is basically my attempt at doing so

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