What is Spaghettification: Definition and 14 Discussions

In astrophysics, spaghettification (sometimes referred to as the noodle effect) is the vertical stretching and horizontal compression of objects into long thin shapes (rather like spaghetti) in a very strong non-homogeneous gravitational field; it is caused by extreme tidal forces. In the most extreme cases, near black holes, the stretching is so powerful that no object can withstand it, no matter how strong its components. Within a small region the horizontal compression balances the vertical stretching so that small objects being spaghettified experience no net change in volume.
Stephen Hawking described the flight of a fictional astronaut who, passing within a black hole's event horizon, is "stretched like spaghetti" by the gravitational gradient (difference in strength) from head to toe. The reason this happens would be that the gravity force exerted by the singularity would be much stronger at one end of the body than the other. If one were to fall into a black hole feet first, the gravity at their feet would be much stronger than at their head, causing the person to be vertically stretched. Along with that, the right side of the body will be pulled to the left, and the left side of the body will be pulled to the right, horizontally compressing the person. However, the term "spaghettification" was established well before this. Spaghettification of a star was imaged for the first time in 2018 by researchers observing a pair of colliding galaxies approximately 150 million light-years from Earth.

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  1. Somoth Ergai

    B Entering a black hole -- I know I must be wrong (Help me understand why)

    From what I understand about time dilation and the relativity of simultaneity; if we imagine two people near a black hole and one of them begins to approach the black hole on a trajectory that crosses the event horizon. The stationary observer will never see the moving observer enter the black...
  2. DaveC426913

    B Spaghettification & Black Holes: Classical & Einsteinian

    (Classical model) The radial "stretching" is caused by differential gravity (tides), but what is the lateral squashing caused by? Is it because the "force" of gravity is not parallel, but instead comes from a point, forming an acute angle? (Einsteinian model) I guess it's pretty trivial to...
  3. K

    B Explaining Spaghettification w/ Spacetime Curvature

    I enjoy explaining spacetime curvature to people with a rank-beginner understanding of GR. But someone asked about that favorite concept in pop-sci, spaghettification. I'm having a hard time with it. If you fell into a black hole, there's no reference frame within which you could describe...
  4. Z

    A Spaghettification: Geometrical & Mathematical Description

    Looking for geometrical description / mathematical approach to describe Spaghettification to a given body. Is there a specific paper (maybe computer simulations) that can serve me to understand in detail the phenomena?
  5. George Keeling

    I Questions about spaghettification and gas cloud G2

    I did an exercise about beacons falling radially into black holes from Carroll's book and got a formula for the proper velocity$$ \frac{dr}{d\tau}=-\sqrt{\frac{R_S}{r_\ast}}\sqrt{\frac{r_\ast-r}{r}} $$It's in natural units (##c=1)##, ##r_\ast## is where the beacon is dropped from and ##R_s=2GM##...
  6. D

    I Is it possible to stretch a singularity?

    Hi everyone When a smaller black hole gets sucked into a larger one, is it theoretically possible for the gravity of the larger black hole to stretch the smaller black hole so that it no longer has an infinitely dense centre? I guess it won't matter once they are completely merged, but in...
  7. Pejeu

    Spaghettification and gravity in theory of relativity?

    Per my layman's understanding, the apparent force of gravity, as explained by the general theory of relativity, is actually the result of rectilinear motion at uniform speed through warped spacetime. 1. If that's the case, what actually causes gravity for objects at rest with respect to the...
  8. Stephanus

    Spaghettification near event horizon

    Dear PF Forum, Can we avoid spaghettification for some times, once we're inside event horizon? I choose a rather massive black hole, so the tidal force won't be so big at EH. Mass: 1 trillion solar mass Schwarzschild radius: 2.950 trillion KM What is the gravitational force at EH? I calculate...
  9. PraisetheSun

    Spaghettification inside a spherically symmetric black hole

    I need to find the vectors for time and radius that describe a space-like 4-acceleration of an observer falling radially into a spherically-symmetric black hole. Previous to this question, the values of the real time derivatives for time and radius were derived to be: dt/dτ = (1-2m/r)-1 and...
  10. L

    Does Spaghettification contradict space/time swap in a black hole

    Hi, I've heard and read that if someone was to fall towards a black hole, say feet first, they would undergo spaghettification at a certain distance, as the gravity at their feet would be much greater than the gravity at their head, and their body wouldn't be able to reisist the pulling effect...
  11. V

    Spaghettification electromagnetism

    I posted this question on another forum, and, the answers, thus far, have not really helped me out very much. So, I figured physics questions are best directed toward the 'physics guys'. Here is the text of my two posts. I feel like the problem probably lies with my extremely limited...
  12. K

    The destruction of matter due to spaghettification

    This is my first time posting on the forums, so please be nice if I mess up :) My question is this: After matter falls past the event horizon it undergoes spaghettification. Now let's say a human falls into the black hole. His hand enters first and is being accelerated faster than the rest...
  13. N

    Does spaghettification occur around a super massive black hole?

    I heard recently that a supermassive black hole would not tear you apart like a smaller black hole would, that you would simply “flow into it never knowing that you are doomed until it is too late”. Is this true and if so why?
  14. S

    Blackhole spaghettification and maximum body tension

    Homework Statement In the Schwarzschild Slalom, brave athletes dive from a platform orbiting at a distance of 1 AU from the singularity at the centre of a black hole with a mass of 10 MSun. The competitor who can get closest to the singularity, and survive, wins the event. (The rules state the...