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Are black holes always found at the centre of galaxies? © Getty Images

Quick Q&A: What happens to the light that’s been sucked into a black hole?

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Light particles can’t escape a black hole but that doesn’t mean they are destroyed.

Asked by: Ruth Dietrich


Once a particle of light (‘photon’) passes the ‘event horizon’ of a black hole, it can no longer escape, but there’s nothing to suggest that it is destroyed.

Like matter, the photon is rapidly sucked towards the ‘singularity’ at the centre of the black hole, where a huge mass is packed into an infinitely small space. What happens to photons at these extreme conditions, however, is one of physics’ big unanswered questions.

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