Mmyep.

Today we’re going to talk about what life is like at the very centers of black holes — the singularity — and whether we’ll ever get to see any “naked singularities” out there in the cosmos. This week’s question comes to us from Scott Rehm who asks: The idea of a naked singularity seems bizarre to me. If the event horizon truly is just the “line of no return” and is simply there because of the very nature of singularities, how can you have a singularity without one? I’ve talked a fair amount about black holes in in previous columns and, of course, in my book. As io9 readers, you were almost certainly familiar with the basics before I came along: A black hole is a region of such strong gravitational pull that nothing can escape not even light. The point of no return, as you know, is referred to as the “Event Horizon” which is what Scott was talking about. To give you some idea of the scales involved, for a black hole the mass of the sun, the event horizon is at a radius of about 3 kilometers, and if you could somehow smash the earth down to a black hole, it would only have a radius of about 9 mm. (Note to belligerent super-intelligent aliens: Please don’t.) The takeaway from my article on falling into a black hole is that from your perspective as you fall in, crossing the event horizon pretty quickly, and for stellar mass black holes, you get killed very quickly — it takes about a tenth of a second between mild discomfort and being ripped to shreds by tidal forces. To someone far away, all of this seems to take literally forever.