Black holes are the largest collections of pure violent energy in the universe. If you come too close, they’ll devour you and add your energy to their collection. And so, the energy is lost to us forever. Or is it? It turns out there’s a universe cheat code. A way of powering civilizations until the very death of everything, or of constructing the largest bomb in the universe. But how? Didn’t we learn that all energy is trapped forever in black holes, even light? This is true. Everything you think you know about the weirdest thing in the universe is about to get weirder, for one simple reason: Black holes are spinning. When really really massive stars die, their cores collapse under their own gravity into black holes. This means something very big becomes very, very tiny. Like the tiniest anything can be in this universe. But stars are rotating and a fundamental property of our universe is that things that are spinning don’t want to stop spinning. We call this: angular momentum. And this angular momentum can’t go away. A big thing that spins and becomes smaller, spins faster. So, as the core of a star collapses, its momentum makes it spin faster and faster and faster, until it collapses into a black hole . And the black hole keeps on spinning, inconceivably fast. Some of them spin millions of times a second. Just like non spinning black holes, …spinning black holes have an event horizon and a singularity at their core, where all of their mass is concentrated. The singularity is usually described as a single infinitely small point with no surface area. But points can’t rotate, so a rotating singularity can’t be a point. Instead, it’s a RINGularity. A ringularity is a ring with a thickness of zero and no surface, spinning extremely fast, containing all the mass of the black hole. The black hole is spinning so fast, that it morphs space and time itself. It literally drags space with it, such is its power. This creates a new and super weird region of space-time: the Ergosphere, which envelops the black hole. If space and time are completely broken inside the event horizon, then they’re only half broken inside the ergosphere. Inside the ergosphere, nothing makes sense. It’s possible to enter it and then leave it again, but it’s probably not a great experience. You can imagine it like this: Falling into a static black hole is like sliding down a hole. Being inside the ergosphere of a spinning black hole is like spiraling down a deadly drain. The black hole transfers its own kinetic energy in the form of rotation, to everything that enters the ergosphere. The ringularity makes you dance whether you want to or not. You need to move faster than the speed of light just to stand still here, which is impossible. But here’s our cheat code: We can steal this energy, and there’s a lot of energy to steal. Take the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. We could steal as much energy from it as every single star in the Milky Way emits in a billion years combined. The easiest way to steal this energy is, oddly enough, to drop something into the black hole. We’ve seen that the ringularity forces energy on us when we enter the ergosphere, …which is a lot like being in a whirlpool, with space-time rushing around and around. If you’re clever you can use the water to your advantage, and swim faster than before. In practice, this means sending a rocket into the ergosphere, and making a trade with the black hole: We give it some mass-energy, and it gives us some of its rotational energy. But it’s not a fair trade, we get the better deal. Normally, if you fire a rocket, you exchange chemical energy for kinetic energy. This is like pushing yourself forward in a swimming pool. But if you fire a rocket inside the ergosphere, it’s like pushing yourself forward in a wave pool. The rotational energy of the waves gives you a much stronger boost than you could get just by pushing yourself. The boost from the rotation of the back hole is so big, that you leave the ergosphere with much more energy than you entered it. The black hole gives a tiny amount of its rotational energy to you, and slows down a little. Obviously, this requires a lot of food. Fortunately, black holes aren’t picky eaters. An advanced future civilization would probably harvest asteroids to drop them into the black hole when they needed an energy boost. But there’s an even better way to get energy from a black hole, and oddly enough, it builds the biggest bomb any living thing could ever hope to build: We only need two things to build a black hole bomb: a fast-spinning black hole, and a big mirror. The mirror has to completely envelop the black hole, …which is similar to a Dyson Sphere, a mega structure that harvests the energy of an entire star. Although, our mirror would be easier to build. Mirrors are simpler, and black holes are much, much more compact than stars. If we made the mirror 10 centimeters thick, the metal of a big asteroid would probably be enough material for a black hole with the mass of our Sun. Once our mirror is in place, we only need to open a window, and shoot electromagnetic waves at the black hole. You can imagine what happens next, by imagining tossing a ball at a wall, and it coming back faster than a bullet. The waves hit the black hole at light speed. A small proportion of the waves falls past the event horizon to disappear forever. But a much larger amount sloshes through the ergosphere, …where the black hole forces some of its rotational energy on them, and amplifies them. They now begin superradiant scattering, which are fancy science words meaning: “Bouncing around between mirror and black hole and getting stronger.” Every time they go around, they are getting exponentially stronger. By opening some windows in the mirror, we can extract the energy from the waves as fast as they grow. Which we could use, in theory, to create what would be for all practical purposes, an endless source of energy for trillions of years. Or, we could blow it up. If the waves are not released, they will continue to get stronger and stronger, …and take more and more energy from the black hole, until the mirror shatters. A supermassive black hole would release as much energy as a supernova, …making the bomb the largest explosion any living being could ever create. The beauty of the black hole bomb, the Penrose process, and the super radiant scattering, is that they are not science-fiction. In the far far future, this might be the only way to survive in our dying universe. After all the red dwarfs have cooled down, and all the white dwarfs transformed into black dwarfs, the universe will turn dark forever. Rotating black holes might be the only sources of energy in the entire universe that life could harvest. If so, the last living being in existence might one day end its life around a black hole. Which is equally chilling and uplifting. It turns out that even without any light, there are places we can go. Black holes are as interesting as they are mysterious, but there’s actually a surprising amount we do know. Using math we can calculate things and come up with theories about how we die if we fall into them. If you’re the sort of person who gets excited about maths and calculating these things for yourself, …our friends at Brilliant have put together a fantastic black hole quiz to help you get your head around them. Brilliant is a problem-solving website that teaches you to think like a scientist, by guiding you through the problems. They take concepts like these, break them up into bite-sized pieces, present clear thinking in each part, and then build back up to an interesting conclusion. If you visit Brilliant.org/nutshell or click the link in the description, you can sign up for free and learn all kinds of cool stuff. And as a bonus for Kurzgesagt viewers, the first 688 people will also get 20% off their annual membership. If you want to truly learn about black holes and support Kurzgesagt, this is one of the best ways to do it.

The Black Hole Bomb and Black Hole Civilizations
Tagged on:                                                                                     

100 thoughts on “The Black Hole Bomb and Black Hole Civilizations

  • February 8, 2019 at 1:54 pm
    Permalink

    There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here: shop.kurzgesagt.org

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 11:51 am
    Permalink

    I have a hard time believing that much energy for a bomb could build up before the mirror would just get pushed apart. Anything that could generate that much energy couldn't be contained by anything we could build for very long at all. And if we tried just harvesting energy as was mentioned earlier, opening the window would let all the energy out at the speed of light – it bounces that fast, of course. We couldn't open then close the window fast enough to let it perpetuate. Speculation, or extrapolation?

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 1:57 pm
    Permalink

    0:15 FOR ADUN!

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 3:20 pm
    Permalink

    who else is watching while the world is ending?

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 3:42 pm
    Permalink

    why dont we throw our waste in the black hole for energy? If they say you could throw meteorites, why not loads of plastic and trash?

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 4:20 pm
    Permalink

    I wonder if I can eventually volunteer to go into a black hole

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 4:26 pm
    Permalink

    I can use the black hole bomb in GTA keeping everyone in a gen justu was boring but destroying the world is better

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 4:31 pm
    Permalink

    Before the black hole bomb: Save electricity!
    After: USE IT ALL BEFORE IT EXPLODES!!

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:34 pm
    Permalink

    I wish my family disappears forever

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm
    Permalink

    the insane spelling mistake in the spanish subs at 3:33 is killing me omfg

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm
    Permalink

    Can you imagine a Starcraft II game animated by Kurzgesagt? I'll show you the money!

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 7:00 pm
    Permalink

    7:01 hi homer

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 7:45 pm
    Permalink

    Ah, Black Holes, my favorite existential crisis generators.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 8:15 pm
    Permalink

    well shit. i wont even be around to see this stuff happen. 🤦‍♂️

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 8:17 pm
    Permalink

    what's at the center of a ringularity of a black hole?

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 10:28 pm
    Permalink

    so you wanna make a flimsy mirror that encircles a black hole thats maybe twice the size of a solar system?

    seems legit

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm
    Permalink

    7:00 Homer Simpson cameo

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 11:53 pm
    Permalink

    I love how at all the scenes with the black hole in shit somehow have a reflection even if their a black hole

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:09 am
    Permalink

    i saw the egg last

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:07 am
    Permalink

    The quack in the end is pretty cute

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:25 am
    Permalink

    umm, if you enterd the ergosphere, u'd already be faster than light?
    Brain damage

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:39 am
    Permalink

    Us military: WRITE THAT DOWN WRITE THAT DOWN

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:00 am
    Permalink

    How to rip off a blackhole

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:05 am
    Permalink

    amazing stuff!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:08 am
    Permalink

    Black holes:
    Don't exist

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:22 am
    Permalink

    The history channel at 11:59:
    The pyramids were made millions of years ago

    The history channel at 12:00:
    The black hole bomb and black hole civilisation

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:28 am
    Permalink

    Infinite energy source:
    Cats always land on their feet
    Toast always lands on the buttered side
    Tape toast to cat and then it will spin forever and never fall
    Attach to generator and boom infinite power

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:49 am
    Permalink

    7:02 D'oh!! Another meltdown.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:53 am
    Permalink

    Fascinating video! You really ought to mention, though, that this is all based on remote observation of black holes and extrapolation of what we know about them. Some of what you say is phrased so that a casual viewer might think we had actually fired rockets into black holes before. Also, it would be relevant to mention when the animations can't quite do the scientific concepts justice. The ringularity, for example, couldn't actually be animated with a thickness of zero, so it would be relevant to say, "Diagrams can't quite do this concept justice, but xxx."

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 3:26 am
    Permalink

    5:49 "If we made the mirror 10 centimeters thick, the metal of a big ass steroid would probably be enough material for a black hole with the massive ass sun."

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 4:20 am
    Permalink

    What is singularitys can cause mini big bangs by releasing all the energy it gathered

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 4:23 am
    Permalink

    Which software do they use for making these extra ordinary animations !!?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:12 am
    Permalink

    so kirby…

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:53 am
    Permalink

    Humans: Gosh why are we so wasteful, we're using up all our own energy supplies

    Also Humans as soon as they spot a potentially infinite energy source: Hey, can we blow it up?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 6:17 am
    Permalink

    my mind is blown

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:35 am
    Permalink

    This black hole thing sounds interesting, can I buy one at Walmart

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:57 am
    Permalink

    The big bang that started the universe was just a gaint ass black hole that combined with every black hole, than gave up on life and explosded

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 10:16 am
    Permalink

    future north korea : hippity hoppity get destroyed by super nova hoppity

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:28 am
    Permalink

    I want to live to see all of this so bad, but it just won't happen 🙁

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:29 am
    Permalink

    How to rip off a monster. Lol 😂

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:52 am
    Permalink

    So now your saying black holes are unlimited sources of energy…..
    The more you know

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:13 pm
    Permalink

    Damn this video exploded a black hole inside my brain

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:49 pm
    Permalink

    1:09
    Is that a running fitness machine ?
    LOOOOL !!!!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:33 pm
    Permalink

    How you make these animations

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:37 pm
    Permalink

    7:55 What are we seeing in de window?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    Permalink

    But we're driving on gasoline with 20% yield

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm
    Permalink

    I'm on a Kurzgesagt marathon and I don't regret it, it's been four and a half hours now!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 3:15 pm
    Permalink

    Humans: we could use Black Holes to generate near infinite amounts of energy.
    Also Humans: MAKE IT GO BOOM BIG

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 3:44 pm
    Permalink

    10,000,000

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 4:41 pm
    Permalink

    If we did blow up the black hole, what happens to the black hole? Does it continue to be a black hole or does it dissipate and release all the mass inside it?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 4:46 pm
    Permalink

    4:15 Stonks

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:19 pm
    Permalink

    This black hole nuke is something Humans can use to end everything…
    Kowalski, Analysis.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:19 pm
    Permalink

    001¢ TNT = 🎒 (backpack has very small bomb)
    010¢ TNT = 🧺 (under the towels a small bomb)
    1$ TNT 🧨 = (dynamite)
    10$ TNT🚪 = (a some what big bomb fills this room)
    100$ TNT = 🌆 (a some what large bomb can destroy all these towers in one blow)
    1K$ TNT = 🌕 (a massive bomb that can destroy the moon)
    10K$ TNT = ☢️ (level 1 nuke)
    100K$ TNT = ☣️ (maximum level nuke)
    1M$ TNT = 🌎 (this TNT will destroy the world if set off)
    10M$ TNT ☀️ (this TNT will destroy the sun if set off)
    100M$ TNT 🌌 (this TNT will destroy the universe if set off)

    DISCLAIMER :
    This is not accurate in any way!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm
    Permalink

    World war 3
    Countries-Nuke!
    Kim Jong Un:Allow me to introduce my friend, the black hole nuke
    Countries:Oh no….

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:32 pm
    Permalink

    The last home of humanity
    Will go out with a bang

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:56 pm
    Permalink

    hey I see that brotoss at 0:22 don't try to hide it from me

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:56 pm
    Permalink

    Criminal : I killed one…
    Stalin : I killed millions…
    9970962 years humans : That's cute…

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 6:11 pm
    Permalink

    Wouldn’t the black hole swallow the mirrors surrounding it

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 6:21 pm
    Permalink

    And that is why we haven't heard from any extra terrestrials.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:34 pm
    Permalink

    0:20 – hell, I would play the shit out of Starcraft made in this graphical style!;P

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:37 pm
    Permalink

    You shouldn't talk about this as if it were certain. Black holes might not even exist.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:40 pm
    Permalink

    I got so high while watching this

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 8:34 pm
    Permalink

    So many spinny things

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 9:00 pm
    Permalink

    Imagine surviving until the very end then going out in the largest possible explosion

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 9:28 pm
    Permalink

    Nice Pinky and the Brain reference

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 10:19 pm
    Permalink

    Black hole bomb… awwwwwww man

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:29 pm
    Permalink

    6:56 * or, we could blow it up! *

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:34 pm
    Permalink

    In the Furtrue
    :Random people Going by there day
    A Terrorist with a black hole bomb: ALLAH AKBAR

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:39 pm
    Permalink

    Bird death count
    0:08 Space bird eaten by black hole

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:52 pm
    Permalink

    I bet the Russians would do this

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:58 pm
    Permalink

    So if you spin something fast enough in space it will make a black hole

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 12:32 am
    Permalink

    0:19 Starcraft
    Omg that’s Starcraft

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 3:03 am
    Permalink

    So humans theoretically can take the most dangerous thing in the known universe AND TAKE ALL ITS STUFF 😀 humans are crazy

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 3:52 am
    Permalink

    But not all stars become Black Holes tho

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 4:32 am
    Permalink

    I went into creative and went though the black hole, it leads to the end

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 5:26 am
    Permalink

    I figured they were spinning, seeing as galaxies are all spinning. .
    I thought thst was obvious

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 6:04 am
    Permalink

    At the minute 0:20 is an star craft reference

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 6:43 am
    Permalink

    What about a anti-matter bomb

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 7:51 am
    Permalink

    I'm pretty sure a black hole spins faster than the speed of light.??….?

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 8:32 am
    Permalink

    2:54
    What….
    is that melody?

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 8:34 am
    Permalink

    The dramatic song and voice makes me worry too much about the future 🤣😭🤣

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 8:36 am
    Permalink

    Could we not just build our own stars?
    Or conceivably make something even denser than the black hole to fish all our stuff back out?

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 8:38 am
    Permalink

    Pretty awesome. I wonder how long humans will be around for.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 8:45 am
    Permalink

    Does anyone understand wth is he’s talking about?

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 9:26 am
    Permalink

    Gunbusteeeeeerrrrr!

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 11:47 am
    Permalink

    "Try spinning! That's an useful trick!" – guess the movie lmao

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    Permalink

    This is not how any of this works??????

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 1:54 pm
    Permalink

    8:00 yeah

    we can go to bed

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 3:51 pm
    Permalink

    hmm Nick name them The Angles Halo Black hole?
    Just a thought

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 4:31 pm
    Permalink

    Am I the only one who saw Pinky and the Brain? LOL

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 4:42 pm
    Permalink

    Wait but what’s the point of making an energy source that lasts trillions of years when the sun will blow up in a few billions years. (assuming Jesus hasn’t come down yet, for you Christians)

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm
    Permalink

    Did anyone else notice the starcraft video game-inspired art at 0:20

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 5:12 pm
    Permalink

    What if we sent a bunch of the trash in the oceans into a black hole 🕳

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 9:51 pm
    Permalink

    No super nova, mirror will break before enough energy can be stored

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 11:03 pm
    Permalink

    When I grow up I want to be a black ass hole.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 12:10 am
    Permalink

    Lol so you want to build bits around a black whole xD its like sending money to Afrika useless and a money pit …

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 12:40 am
    Permalink

    Pump a bomb with the Shadow Stone in Bomberman 64: The Second Attack. Then we can talk.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 1:17 am
    Permalink

    Black hole: Exists
    Humans: Do you want to explode?

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 6:30 am
    Permalink

    I REALLY like how you used the same cheat code from starcraft to give minerals and vespene, "show me the money" and turned it into "show me the energy" Nice little ode. But then you had to go and blow my mind with a RTS starcraft animation in the next bunch of frames. You are too good to us Kurzgasagt.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 6:31 am
    Permalink

    It's not known as angular momentum it's called inertia
    Do your homework

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *