No person has ever been close enough to a black hole to actually fall into one, but if a person ever got close enough, their body would stretch out as they were pulled into the black hole. In this activity you will make a spaghettification flip book that will demonstrate how the strong gravitational pull of a black hole would stretch any astronaut unlucky enough to encounter one in space. Spaghettification is the stretching of objects that fall into a black hole. It is called spaghettification because small objects will grow long and stringy like spaghetti as they are pulled into the black hole.
Gravity is what causes spaghettification. The force of gravity depends on three things, the mass of one object, the mass of another object and the distance between them. The closer the two objects are the stronger the force of gravity. So if this imaginary astronaut is falling feet first towards a black hole, his feet are closer to the center of the black hole than his head. The force of gravity is therefore stronger on his feet than on his head. The difference in pull creates what is called a tidal force. This makes the astronaut (or anything else that gets too close) stretch out long and thin. The tides on Earth are caused by the tidal forces created by the Moon.
- A pair of scissors (If you need help with scissors, ask a parent or guardian)
- A stapler and staples
- Spaghettification Flip Book picture page, found below
- Colored Pencils
- Print out the page below with the pictures of the astronaut on it.
- Color the astronaut pictures.
- Carefully cut out the 8 images of the astronaut.
- Put the images in a stack, with #1 on top, then #2, then #3, and so on...
- Staple the pictures together using the small lines in picture #1 as a guide.
- Flip sheets from back to front.
Credits Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum Education Department, 2000.
You Are Here!
Developed by Judith, student in 2008 Geo/Space For Elementary Educators course, and modified with black hole flipbook by Barbara J. Shaw Ph.D.
Where Are We in Our Galaxy?
- The Sun (and therefore the Earth and Solar System) may be found close to the inner rim of the Galaxy's Orion Arm, in the Local Fluff or the Gould Belt
- The distance between the local arm and the next arm out, the Perseus Arm, is about 6,500 light years.
- The Sun, and thus the Solar System, is found in what scientists call the galactic habitable zone.
- 1 cut out of the Milky Way galaxy on black poster board (foam board works best)
- Coloring materials. i.e.: glue and glitter, water colors, crayons, etc
- Foam ball that has been cut in half
- Marker or color pencil
- Tiny flip-books (copy attached)
- Label the arms of the Milky Way along with the location of the sun on Orion’s arm (Use picture for a exact location).
- Color in the regions of the Milky Way that would hold old stars (red) and new stars (blue).
- Color the foam ball using gold glitter, yellow or orange markers or watercolors.
- Make a tiny flipbook of Speghettification (cut out the 8 pictures, order them, and staple them.
- Attach the toothpick to the flipbook, and insert the toothpick where we find the biggest black hole in our galaxy.
- Hold the finished Milky Way up eye level and view it from the side.
- Flip the Milky Way to where the spirals are facing you and view it from this angle.
- Think about what differences there are between the side view and the face view. What do these two different views tell us about how we see the galaxies from the Earth.
- How will our views change when we are able to get outside the galaxy and look in on it?
- A quick clean up and discussion on the ideas of our home view of the Milky Way.
Diagrams of our Milky Way
Use this diagram to replicate our Milky Way on your model. Label the arms and indicate where our Sun is on your model. Where will you put the flipbook of the black hole? Why will you put it there?