Human ignorance, sadly, isn't limited to planet Earth. Even today, over 400 years after the Age of Enlightenment began, plenty of people are still getting plenty of stuff wrong--not just about our home planet, but about the whole universe. Luckily, Jeopardy!s Ken Jennings is the author of a new book about the mysteries of the cosmos, the Junior Genius Guide to Outer Space. In this month's Debunker columns, he'll set us straight on a whole sky full of starry slip-ups. These are some misconceptions of truly astronomical proportion.
The Debunker: Star Myth #2: Do Black Holes Suck?
Let's get this out of the way up front: falling into a black hole is no picnic. Get too close to one of these collapsed stars, and you'll never get out. Weird time effects will start to boggle your brain: thousands of years will pass by in, from your point of view, minutes. You'll see images from the past lined up in front of you, and images from the future behind you. Light will bend so much that might be able to see the back of your own head. And that's before you even start to undergo "spaghettification"--the gravitational stretching of your body into a new, pasta-shaped you.