What if the sun on Earth suddenly stopped being sun and transformed into a? According to Jeremy Schnittman, a NASA research astrophysicist, all the oceans would freeze within days, so we would probably have a rough time.
But does this mean that the planet orbiting a black hole is completely unstable when it comes to life? The answer to this question is a little more complicated. So complicated, in fact, that Schnittman decided to write an entire article on the subject.
Inspired byChristopher Nolan directs a science fiction flick where NASA sends a space crew on a secret mission to find a habitable planet outside our solar system, Schnittman wanted to explore the idea of the planet. At Interstellar, scientists discover three potential planets worth traveling to, all of which orbit a regular black hole. Interstellar is a fictional movie, but it has been particularly strict with its science. A companion book, written by renowned physicist theorist Kip Thorne, The Science of the Interstellar, was extremely detailed and actually gave Snitman a solid foothold as he tried to answer the question: Can a habitable planet circle a black hole?
what is the answer? Every potential habitable planet should receive light and energy from somewhere, providing a moving temperature on that planet. Given the way black holes absorb gas and matter, some black holes have storage discs. According to the document, "[a] stellar masses of black holes are the brightest x-ray sources in the sky, and the accumulation of supermassive black holes is the most luminous sustainable sources in the universe."
Does this mean that a particular type of black hole can provide energy for life similar to the sun? Roughly. But there is a problem: this type of energy and light would create a type of "pervading black body radiation background, probably not very conducive to a complex life."
But the paper goes into even more detail. Will Dyson's kind of reflective, feedback sphere solve the radiation problem? Potentially, but then we would have a "neutrino" to the content of what the paper calls a "silent killer of nature."
So yeah, Interstellar. A great movie, but maybe moving a planet close to a supermassive black hole is not the best idea. Oh, and someone to tell.