Spaghettification occurs when an object approaches a singularity. As one comes close enough to the singularity, the gravity at the feet (if this is a human) is greater than that at the head, stretching the human (or object in general).


  1. Does this happen to all objects which have mass?

  2. Assume an atom is getting sucked into the black hole. Would it rip the atom to pieces? If not, why not?


  1. Spaghettification

  2. Black holes and tidal forces

  • $\begingroup$ In the first order of approximation one does not necessarily need the use of quantum gravity to do such a calculation. What you need to do is write the metric required for the existence of tidal forces. Following that use a non-Newtonian approximation and simplify the Lagrangian.(v<<c). Now you can consider a bound particle potential in that space time. And you can do time dependent perturbation theory to find the amplitude for emission of the particle. This should work as far as I can see, However I have not done these calculation so we may run into problems. $\endgroup$
    – Prathyush
    Oct 23, 2016 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ When one goes beyond this approximation a lot of things happen, We have to treat quantum fields in Curved space time, which can be a very tricky subject in general. Back reaction Issues will be important which is also a current subject of research. $\endgroup$
    – Prathyush
    Oct 23, 2016 at 23:45

1 Answer 1


Anything above elementary particles should in theory be ripped apart, yes. Talking about elementary particles themselves or even just the separation of hadrons or baryons is a whole different story. Because we lack an understanding of black holes at a quantum mechanical level it is surprisingly difficult to actually examine spaghettification at these fundamental levels.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Spaghettification only occurs for sufficiently large tidal forces. For instance, a human wouldn't be spaghettified by a supermassive black hole (because its radius is so large). $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Mar 22, 2016 at 21:32
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @lemon: Not above the event horizon, but the tidal forces keep increasing below, so one can't really escape them. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Mar 22, 2016 at 21:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As matter approaches the singularity things on the atomic scale start to feel extreme tidal forces as well! $\endgroup$
    – Jaywalker
    Mar 23, 2016 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne: If they don't get incinerated first from the inner-horizon instability. $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2019 at 19:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.