A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole, there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return.

The hole is called "black" because it absorbs all the light that hits the horizon, reflecting nothing, just like a perfect black body in thermodynamics. Quantum field theory in curved spacetime predicts that event horizons emit radiation like a black body with a finite temperature. This temperature is inversely proportional to the mass of the black hole, making it difficult to observe this radiation for black holes of stellar mass or greater.

However, a new theory has been proposed that claims there is no singularity: apply a quantum theory of gravity to these bizarre objects and the all-crushing singularity at their core disappears.

In its place is something that looks a lot like an entry point to another universe. Most immediately, that could help resolve the nagging information loss paradox that dogs black holes.

Though no human is likely to fall into a black hole anytime soon, imagining what would happen if they did is a great way to probe some of the biggest mysteries in the universe. Most recently this has led to something known as the black hole firewall paradox – but black holes have long been a source of cosmic puzzles.

According to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, if a black hole swallows you, your chances of survival are 0. You'll first be torn apart by the black hole's tidal forces, a process whimsically named spaghettification.

Eventually, you'll reach the singularity, where the gravitational field is infinitely strong. At that point, you'll be crushed to an infinite density. Unfortunately, general relativity provides no basis for working out what happens next. When you reach the singularity in general relativity, physics just stops, the equations break down.