Black Hole Shape
I have always heard that black holes, are, well, holes...but
lately on science channels they are depicted as black spheres -- like black
stars. So are they convex like a sphere, or concave like a hole?
The more correct answer of the two is that the shape of black holes is
basically spherical (although technically, they deviate from perfect
spheres). The shape changes depending on if the black hole is charged
or spinning, and where and how much matter is flowing in to it.
The "hole" shape you are describing sounds like a diagram of a gravity
well, which is a diagram of the gravitational force (actually the
gravitational vector) around a black hole. This diagram describes the
strength of the gravitational field, but is not a depiction of the
shape of a black hole. You may want to read about "gravitational
wells"; there are many articles (and pictures) available on-line.
Hope this helps,
The illustrations are representing different things. The event
horizon of the black hole is represented as a semi conical hole with
sloping sides. The actual body is represented as a sphere.
Of course, since we cannot look into a black hole and recover
information, neither representation is anything more than a way to
draw an illustration.
R. W. "Bob" Avakian
B.S. Earth Sciences; M.S. Geophysics
Oklahoma State Univ. Inst. of Technology
A black hole, caused by the gravitational pull of an extremely dense
piece of matter at its center, is essentially spherical. A standard
hole needs to have an open side. A black hole looks the same from all
sides. Some descriptions show what a black hole might look like in a
two-dimensional model of a three-dimensional universe. This is a way to
show how a black hole might affect things, but it does not show the
shape of a black hole.
A block hole looks like a hole because no light comes from it. Your
eyes cannot see it and cannot see through it. This makes it look like a
piece of space is missing, but really there is material within the
spherical border of the dark zone.
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012