Experience What It’s Like to Fall Into a Black Hole With This 360-Degree VR Video

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman / NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman

Take comfort in the fact that you will never come face to face with a black hole. The closest of these insatiable voids is approximately 1500 light-years from Earth. With that knowledge in mind, it's still hard not to feel unsettled by this 360-degree simulation of what it's like to fall into one.

Black holes occur when an area of gravity in space is so concentrated that no light or matter can escape it. If you were to fall into a black hole, your body might stretch out like a strand of spaghetti before eventually being torn apart and crushed as you approach the point of infinite density, also known as the singularity.

This video created by French visual effects artist, programmer, and musician Alessandro Roussel imagines what that experience might be like, minus the body horror. It begins with a view of a massive black hole warping space. As you approach the opening, peripheral light from the plasma ring around it stretches out and stays in front of your field of vision. This phenomenon is called light aberration, and it's why it seems to take so long to enter the hole even as you get closer to it.

The light disappears quickly once you cross the event horizon, or the point of no return. Once a particle crosses that boundary, it's doomed to its fate inside the black hole. Experience the simulation firsthand by watching the 360-degree video below. You can try viewing it through a virtual reality headset to fully immerse yourself, though having the option to look away may make the claustrophobia easier to stomach.

Unlucky astronauts aren't the only things that would succumb to a black hole's pull. This animation from NASA shows a black hole shredding apart a passing star.

[h/t Nerdist]