The Biggest Myth About Black Holes

Ethan Siegel in Forbes:

Black holes are regions of space where there’s so much mass in such a small volume that there exists an event horizon: a region from within which nothing, not even light, can escape. Yet this doesn’t necessarily mean that black holes suck matter in; they simply gravitate.

Black holes are some of the strangest, most wondrous objects in all the Universe. With huge amounts of mass concentrated into an extremely small volume, they inevitably collapse down to singularities, surrounded by event horizons from which nothing can escape. These are the densest objects in the entire Universe. Whenever anything comes too close to one, the forces from the black hole will tear it apart; when any matter, antimatter, or radiation crosses the event horizon, it simply falls down to the central singularity, growing the black hole and adding to its mass.

These properties about black holes are all true. But there’s an associated idea that’s absolute fiction: black holes suck surrounding matter into them. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and completely misrepresents how gravity works. The biggest myth about black holes is that they suck. Here’s the scientific truth.

More here.