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Planets orbiting black holes could be full of life

Astronomy abandons our intuitions about the nature of the universe somewhere between the horizon of a black hole and its singularity. Although black holes don’t exactly seem hospitable to life, a new analysis by Tomáš Opatrný of Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, claims black holes may be able to provide life-sustaining energy to orbiting planets, in the same way the sun bathes Earth in warm star shine.

The second law of thermodynamics states that any amount of order must be compensated with a greater amount of disorder. Life is an isolated incident of order, which exhausts more energy than it inputs from the sun. The process of increasing disorder is known as entropy.

Since black holes are essentially stars turned inside-out, it seems counterintuitive that they could provide energy like stars do. To the contrary, according to entropy, energy is produced by a temperature difference. On Earth, the temperature difference is seen between the heat of the sun and the cold vacuum of space.


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