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The Question

(Submitted November 16, 1997)

When light enters a black hole does it curve or is it bent?

The Answer

Light entering a black hole can curve. However, the light thinks that it is going straight, and from its point of view it is. (Consider walking around the Earth on the Equator. You think that you are always going in the same direction, but to somebody watching you from space, you are going in a circle.) It just goes as straight as it can through curved space.

David Palmer
for Ask an Astrophysicist

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