Black Holes: Pull In or Orbit
Date: Winter 2012-2013
I frequently hear that black holes simply pull everything in to them. Does this really happen or does everything that is "pulled in" actually orbit the black hole at an infinitely close distance?
Thanks for the question. Yes, you are correct in that black holes pull "everything" towards them. Since a black hole exerts a strong gravitational pull, objects can orbit a black hole. I would have to look up some specific examples, but I believe there are some stars which do orbit a black hole. The orbit radius of an object around a black hole can be calculated using Newton's Law of gravity and some calculus, if you are interested.
I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
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Update: December 2011