What are black holes made of?
What is the type of matter that constitutes a black hole? Or is it matter at all? If the super dense material is continually being compressed where does it finally end? Surely there must be a limit or is it squeezed into energy?
The matter that falls into a black hole is no different from the matter which makes up the rest of the universe. However, physics as we currently understand it breaks down at the centre of a black hole.
We think we understand what happens in extreme gravity (that's General Relativity), and we think we understand what happens at microscopic scales (that's called Quantum Mechanics/Physics), but if the two are combined the theories break down and we have no idea what's going on.
Only a theory of gravity that is compatible with quantum mechanics (often called quantum gravity) could describe the physics "inside" a black hole. Currently, there is no such theory even though several physicists around the world are working on it. Until they (or others) come up with an answer, we will not know what exists at the center of a black hole.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- What type of energy does a black hole have?
- If light has no mass, then what draws it into a black hole?
- What is a singularity?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 65163 times since August 23, 2002.
Last modified: February 15, 2004 2:28:12 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)