Feature

The mysterious boundary

The entrance to a black hole could reveal insights into the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies and even death by spaghettification

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2:40pm, May 16, 2014

PULLED IN  The event horizon is framed by the bright ring in this black hole simulation. Color repre­sents the intensity of light emitted by hot gas circling the horizon; red is brightest, blue dimmest.

A black hole’s event horizon is a one-way bridge to nowhere, a gateway to a netherworld cut off from the rest of the cosmos.

Understanding what happens at that pivotal boundary could reveal the hidden influences that have molded the universe from the instant of the Big Bang.

Today some of the best minds in physics are fixated on the event horizon, pondering what would happen to hypothetical astronauts and subatomic particles upon reaching the precipice of a black hole. At stake is the nearly 100-year quest to unify the well-tested theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics into a supertheory of quantum gravity.

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