(Submitted November 27, 2002)
Are Black holes five-dimensional? I was wondering because if Einstein said to
consider space to be a fabric called Space-time, and black holes literally
make a hole in space. What if we went under a black hole and nothing happens?
Does that mean that black holes are five dimensional or are they in thier own
Thanks for your excellent question. Actually, the dimensions of a
black hole are indeed complicated due to the effects of the strong
gravitational force. Inside the black hole, time becomes a
"dimension," giving rise to the 4-dimensional term we are familiar
with, space-time. See our answer for the black hole volume for
However, nobody really knows how many dimensions make up the
universe --this is still a very exciting field of research. It
turns out that black holes may be able to provide clues to help
astronomers estimate the number of dimensions that make up the
universe, since these extra dimensions are only "felt" during very
energetic processes such as inside a black hole! In fact, there are
several experiments searching for clues to the extra dimensions both
at particle accelerators and with high energy cosmic rays. See the
following websites to learn about these experiments.
http://focus.aps.org/story/v9/st3 (cosmic rays)
Hope this helps,
Georgia & Veronica
For "Ask an Astrophysicist"