Life with a Black Hole Sun?

No, we're not talking about that famous 90s grunge hit by Soundgarden. We're talking about actual black hole suns. link

Interestingly enough, there's some proof that planets orbiting black holes could actually sustain life due to the truly bizarre reversal of thermodynamics experienced by our particular sun and earth. So, basically, it's a weird version of the second law of thermodynamics. Life on earth exploits the difference between the sun and the cold, cold vacuum of space...but a black hole sun situation would give you a cold sun and a hot sky.

Life could actually exist! A team calculated that an Earth-sized(ish) planet that it could extract roughly 900 watts of "useful" power from this temperature. This is enough for life to potentially exist, but...barely.

When the stars are holes will be our last, precious energy source. But, that won't be for a few trillion years so we don't have to start exploiting them just yet.


Picture from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, licensed under Creative Commons.