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The Question

(Submitted February 17, 1997)

Before you reach the event horizon of a black hole and are pulled in, do you first reach a period where you ORBIT and can't break out of it? Let's say a heavy body does drag time around with it. Fine. On a planar model, the dragging time would represent a well of sorts around the star or whatever. Let's say that someone found a massive enough body that has a big enough well, and kind of slipped something into that well, what would happen?

The Answer

Yes, if the black hole is rotating, you first orbit around it before passing through the event horizon.

In answer to your question about what would happen if you slipped into a black hole, you'd get stretched by the tidal forces and your time would slow down as observed by a distant observer. To see what would happen to a body falling into a black hole (or a neutron star), take a look at

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/htmltest/rjn_bht.html

You can also learn more about black holes by taking a look at the Imagine the Universe! page on the basic high energy astrophysics of black holes. You can also look in the advanced section, where there's a list of books you might find interesting.

Jim Lochner

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