How to escape a supermassive black hole, according to some really difficult science

Ellen Stewart
Sunday 29 November 2015 12:50
Science and Tech

You don't have to be a genius to realise the best way to escape a Supermassive Black Hole is to change the radio station as soon as Muse comes on, but you do have to be somewhat of one to actually escape an actual supermassive black hole.

Thankfully, science has figured out how to break free from the gravitational pull of a galactic black hole. But, there's just one catch...

... you'll probably never understand the process.

An international team of astrophysicists, including researchers from the University of Cambridge, used new radio observations to track a star as it gets torn apart by a black hole.

And here's where things get complicated...

According to results published in the Science journal: "Such violent events yield a burst of light which is produced as the bits and pieces of the star fall into the black hole."

The burst of light is followed by a radio signal produced by the matter which was able to "escape the black hole by travelling away in a jetted outflow at nearly the speed of light".

Sjoert van Velzen of Johns Hopkins University, the study's lead author said:

Previous efforts to find evidence for these jets, including my own, were late to the game. Even after they got to the game, these earlier attempts were observing from the bleachers, while we were the first to get front row seats.

Wut?

Science Daily defines black holes as "areas of space so dense that irresistible gravitational force stops the escape of matter, gas and even light, rendering them invisible and creating the effect of a void in the fabric of space".

Prior to this study, astrophysicists had predicted that when a black hole is force-fed a large amount of gas - aka a big ol' star - particles within a magnetic field can escape from near the black hole rim.

And these new findings suggest this prediction was correct.

Earlier this year Stephen Hawking explained his theory on escaping a black hole, which was equally as confusing...

Does your head hurt?

H/T Cambridge University Press

More: Nobody panic, but astronomers just found a 'super massive' black hole

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