Science Wednesday: I Spy, With My Third Eye, a Black Hole

By Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

I tell you, packing for space travel is a lot of work. You need a spacecraft, breathing apparatus, a lifetime supply of Tang and astronaut ice cream, and now it seems having a third eye would be handy, too.

Back in April, researchers Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus of the University of Colorado, built a computer model to simulate what entering a black hole would look like.

However, the simulation only works so far. Hamilton and Polhemus realized that once you’re inside the black hole you’d no longer be able to judge distances because of our pesky binocular vision. With two eyes, we’re able to see the same object from slightly different angles. Combining those angles allows us to triangulate the object’s distance. In a black hole, where space is so strongly curved, everything gets messed up. At least, until you get a third eye. Hamilton speculates that having a third eye would allow you to compensate for the gravitational distortion and you’d be able to see.

Until you get destroyed in the singularity, that is.

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June 2010
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