Was the Big Bang Just a Black Hole?
Fraser “Asks a Spaceman” Dr. Paul Matt Sutter – why do we call the Big Bang a singularity, when we also call black holes singularities?
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Team: Fraser Cain – @fcain
Jason Harmer – @jasoncharmer
Susie Murph – @susiemmurph
Brian Koberlein – @briankoberlein
Chad Weber – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Gill – @kevinmgill
Created by: Fraser Cain and Jason Harmer
Edited by: Chad Weber
Music: Left Spine Down – “X-Ray”
The Universe is filled with coincidences. Like the size of the Moon and the Sun in the sky, even though they’re so far apart. Or the shape of the Pac Man Nebula or the Wizard Nebula. Or like the plot of Force Awakens and every other Star Wars movie, the coincidences are everywhere.
But here’s a pretty strange coincidence, and it has to do with the nature of the Universe itself. Follow along with me here.
Let’s consider black holes, a topic we’ve covered many times on this channel. If you’ve watched enough of our videos, you know a black hole is a region of space where matter and energy have been mashed so densely that the gravitational escape velocity exceeds the speed of light.
We don’t know how big black holes are, but it’s possible that they’ve crushed down into an infinitely dense region, known as a singularity.
Singularity, singularity… where have we heard that word before? Apart from Ray Kurzweil and his crew of technological singularitarians.
That word comes up when we discuss the formation of the Universe; the Big Bang. Back at the beginning, 13.8 billion years ago, everything in the entire Universe was crushed down into a region of infinite density. And then, in a fraction of a second, everything expanded outward.
Astronomers call this region of infinite density the Big Bang singularity.
This can’t just be a coincidence, right? It’s the same word. It’s the SAME WORD!
Was the Big Bang singularity just a really big black hole singularity? A black hole with all the mass of the Universe inside it?
I’m going to admit, this question is a little beyond my paygrade. To fully explain the science, I thought I’d bring in a ringer. Dr. Paul Matt Sutter is an astrophysicist with Ohio State University and the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste.
Paul specializes in cosmic voids, he also knows plenty about both the Big Bang and black holes. I’ve reached Paul on the set of his Ask a Spaceman podcast, and thrown this zinger right at him.
Hey Paul, what’s the difference between the singularity that formed the Big Bang and a black hole singularity? Did the whole Universe start off from a really massive black hole?
In our next episode, we look into the different ways stars can detonate as supernovae – all the different varieties may surprise you.
Oh, and make sure you stick around for the blooper.
I’ll just leave a link to part II of this episode: Are We Living in a Black Hole? Go ahead and click it.
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