Could there be life on a planet near a black hole?

According to Albert's General Theory of RelativityEinstein's supermassive black hole deforms the surrounding space-time. If you watched the film “Interstellar”, you probably remembered the planet Miller, which was visited by the main characters. This planet rotated near a black hole, which is why one hour on it was equal to 7 years on Earth. According to a new article published on the arXiv preprint server, a time shift can significantly affect the planet’s ability to sustain life near a supermassive black hole. Temporary deformation affects not only the passage of time, but also the light reaching the planet, which is important for any life that in theory can exist on it.

Shot from the movie Interstellar. The moment when the heroes arrived on the planet Miller

A new kind of “habitat”

Although the probability of rotationthe inhabited planet around a supermassive black hole is unclear; subtle thought experiments are useful for a better understanding of the universe. At least this opinion is shared by the lead author of the study, Jeremy Schnitman, an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Such thoughts help scientists think about how the universe works.

When astronomers think about a potentialextraterrestrial life, they often define the “habitat” in the planetary system, where the conditions on the planet are optimal for sustaining life. In other words, the temperature on the planet that is in the habitat allows water to be in liquid form. And this depends on factors such as the amount of light emitted by the star of the system, as well as the distance from the planet to the sun. Do you think there is life on other planets? Let's discuss how it can be with the participants of our Telegram chat.

Green indicates the habitable zone and the planets that are in it

According to Schnittman, zones can also be defined.Habitat around supermassive black holes - unless, of course, there are planets that rotate near these space monsters. An interesting fact is that such planets will receive light and heat from sources other than the light of stars, like our Sun. For example, accretion disks of black holes are hot halos of gas and matter that gather around supermassive black holes. Accretion discs can be very bright and give light to orbital planets. In this case, this light will be very different from the usual on Earth. To get a better idea of ​​what a black hole accretion disk looks like, look at the NASA visualization we told you about recently.

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Blue planet

According to Schnittman, temporary distortion onMiller’s planet in Interstellar will not be the only effect the planet can experience near a supermassive black hole. The scientist believes that the effect that slows down the time on the planet will also change the light that he receives from the surrounding space to higher energies. An effect called “blue shift” can potentially make light reaching a planet near a black hole more dangerous. The incoming light will be amplified to much higher frequencies, including the UV range. Exposure to such high-energy radiation can damage living cells, so a planet too close to a supermassive black hole may not be hospitable to life as we know it.

A black hole accretion disk can be a light source for a planet orbiting around it

One way or another, time affects everything around us. And we are talking not only about our perception of reality, but also about reality as such. Time can change it. So the presence of a planet on which time goes faster or slower is really possible. The only question is what forms of life can dwell on such celestial objects.