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Is dark matter affected by the gravitational forces of a black hole?

Is dark matter affected by the gravitational forces of a black hole?
Graham Goddard from Hertfordshire (age 25-34)

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One Response

  1. Dark matter is affected by gravity in exactly the same way as any other particle in our universe. This means that a black hole’s gravity will attract it in just the same way as anything else.

    Despite this it’s far easier to get normal everyday stuff ( like gas ) to fall in to a black hole. Imagine having a large bathroom sink and a ball. if you hold the ball at the edge and throw it directly at the plug hole it might go straight down but if you throw it slightly off target it will miss the hole and star “orbiting” around it. Now eventually the ball will lose energy through friction getting closer and closer to the hole until it falls in. If the ball couldn’t lose energy this way it would keep moving around the sink missing the hole for a long time if not forever.

    Gas around a black hole is like this. As it falls towards the black hole it makes a large disk. This disk rubs against itself and through friction gets incredibly hot. This heat causes the gas to glow giving off light which decreases its energy. Like the ball in the sink, this lets it spiral closer down to its eventual doom in the black hole.

    Dark matter on the other hand only interacts through gravity and does not give out light. Without this mechanism most of the dark mater will orbit around the black hole never to fall in.

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