What it feels like to die in a black hole

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, author of Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, tells the entertaining story of what it's like to be sucked into a black hole.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Death by Black Hole (via How Good is That?)


  1. I’m forever grateful to Frederick Pohl for the image in “Gateway” of a fellow killing several of his comrades by dropping them into a black hole. Of course, when he got back to Earth the fellow had to live with the fact that — given relativity and all that — they would be in the process of dying (from his reference) pretty much forever.

  2. Didn’t a whole bunch of British soldiers die in a black hole in Calcutta long ago? Doesn’t sound much like what Tyson is describing.

  3. I’ll bet we’re going to see this guy all over the nighttime talkshows. Stewart and Colbert would have a blast with him.

  4. Strictly speaking, the comrades in “Gateway” weren’t actually killed. IIRC, they were rescued in a later book.

  5. Wow he is adorable! I have always wondered what it would feel like to be eaten by a black hole! Would be fun to take a class taught by him. He should have his own series.

  6. @IGPAJO: Don’t worry about that – he’s perhaps most notably the host of PBS’s NOVA, and Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

    By the way, he’s already been on Colbert. ;)

    Love the guy – he was seriously one of the physicists I wanted to be like when I was studying astrophysics. A role model, I guess.

  7. The video must be at least 5 years old. In it, Tyson goes on to discuss “99942 Apophis”, a stadium-sized asteroid that until then was considered to have a significant possibility of impacting the Earth on April 13, 2029.

    (Relax, since 21006 we’ve been fairly certain it’s going to miss.)

  8. @13 You’ve come back from 21006 to tell us, “Don’t Panic.”

    His sense of humor is so matter of fact. I really like what he had to add in, “The Universe”

  9. Dr. Tyson is awesome! He actually keeps my attention when speaking about the cosmos. Too bad his show on PBS didn’t last long.

  10. Very interesting but this must be getting hit hard. The buffering is ruining any and all enjoyment for me.

  11. Nice vid. The wikipedia link to apophis is here. As someone pointed out, it’s not going to hit. Unless of course, the government is executing a massive coverup because there is nothing we can do about it.

  12. heh…I wish he could have been my science teacher. I did have a science teacher in high school who loved to torture gummi bears by all sorts of scientific methods. :)

  13. …If more science teachers lectured like this guy, even the little protothugs-in-training would pay attention in class.

  14. About the “squeezing” – my understanding is that you’d see yourself, turned inside out, approaching from all sides until you’re crushed by yourself.

    I created a symbol for the asteroid Apophis as part of an artistic project – take a look at http://www.suberic.net/~dmm/astro/diary.html (toward the bottom).

  15. Dr. DeGrasse Tyson’s TV show on PBS was amazing, he has a real gift when it comes to bringing complex concepts to life. I’m such a fan and so very glad that he’s gotten a sweet plug on BB–teachers across the land take note: learn from Neil & engage the protothugs.
    Forget guest stars on shows and PBS: Neil needs his own unique show somewhere else, like a weekly YouTube gig or his own talk show on the Sundance Channel or something totally new that hasn’t even been tried yet. He’s like Carl Sagan, only so much cooler…

  16. I recall being told about the scenario of falling into a black hole as a kid on a 70’s TV show in Israel called “Popular Science”.

    The presenter demonstrated what happens to the human body by separating a pen from its cap as it “falls down the black hole”. That image has haunted me for years on! LOL!

  17. @ Daku #26: “He’s like Carl Sagan, only so much cooler…”

    Blasphemy! You can’t get cooler than Carl!

  18. Crl Sgn md th nvrs snd vst, mystrs, nd btfl. Ths drk mks vrythng snd lk trd… h’s pndrng nd nhlstc. ‘d lv t pnch hm.

  19. (As I understand it) He didn’t mention that time also slows down as you fall, so it feels longer to the person dying than it does to the person watching the person die.

  20. Skullivan: He has been on Michio Kaku’s radio show Explorations at least twice, and they were quite interesting.

    Now, of course, you’ve reminded me of the old TechTV show Big Thinkers which had Michio Kaku as the subject of one of their episodes. I miss the old TechTV…

  21. This is just fantastic, just like his book and his appearances on the Daily Show. I really wish we had someone like him in government who could go around the country making kids interested in Science. Someone like him who is so passionate about it is simply infectious. I know I can chalk up a lot of my own science interest from none other than Bill Nye, but if we had someone who also represented Americas commitment to the sciences, we would show all the countires around the world that we are still the center of science progress.

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