What is Plunging Region of a Black hole?

May 18, 2024

A strange area around black holes called the “plunging region” has been spotted for the first time.

What is a Black Hole?

  • It is a cosmic body of extremely intense gravity from which nothing, not even light, can escape.
  • This intense gravity occurs because a large amount of matter has been squeezed into a very small space.
  • Formation:
  • A black hole can be formed by the death of a massive star
  • When such a star has exhausted the internal thermonuclear fuels in its core at the end of its life, the core becomes unstable and gravitationally collapses inward upon itself, and the star’s outer layers are blown away.
  • The crushing weight of constituent matter falling in from all sides compresses the dying star to a point of zero volume and infinite density called the singularity.
  • Event Horizon:
  • The event horizon is the boundary around a black hole beyond which no light or other radiation can escape.
  • Once an object crosses this boundary, it cannot escape the black hole's gravitational pull.

About Plunging Region of a Black Hole:

  • It is an area where matter stops circling a black hole and instead falls straight in.
  • It was predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
  • When any matter gets too close to a black hole, it rips apart and forms an orbiting ring around it called an accretion disc.
  • General relativity predicts there should be an inner boundary to the accretion disc past which nothing can orbit the black hole and instead plunges towards the black hole at near the speed of light.
  • The region where this occurs was named the "plunging region", within which it is impossible to stop the final descent past the black hole's event horizon.
  • The plunging region is just outside the event horizon.
  • Studying plunging regions could teach us about how black holes form and evolve, as well as reveal new information about the fundamental nature of space-time.