I would like to have this question reopened.

In contrast to the users who expressed their apparent confusion, I found the question to be very clear. It also seems like one that would get a whole lot of Google hits.

Both complained that one could not know the parameters, but there's only three and these are easy to explain. Yes, it could mean anything from nothing to Bad Things, but the reasons for it being in that spectrum are easy to explain, will explain the underlying physics more clearly.w

I was in the midst of explaining these reasons when the question was suddenly closed mid-edit and all my edit text went into the bit-bucket.

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    $\begingroup$ You can still edit closed questions and, in fact, doing so will automatically place them in a review queue for reopening. That the system discarded your edit seems like a bug that should be raised on Meta Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ "It also seems like one that would get a whole lot of Google hits" - that is entirely irrelevant to whether it's on-topic or not. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2018 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ As I posted in the comment to the question, it's essentially a duplicate of physics.stackexchange.com/q/226946/25301 and possibly also physics.stackexchange.com/q/55143/25301 $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos - no Kyle, it's not; he's asking why the rocks are being pulled off the earth. He says this very clearly in his question. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2018 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ @MauryMarkowitz the question clearly is "What DOES happen in a flyby like that?" which isn't explicitly asking for rock motions but asking the broad question if Earth + black hole which is a duplicate of what I linked. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


I don't support reopening this question (currently, revision 3) because I think it has a couple of issues that justify it being put on hold:

  • First, as enumaris brought up in the comments,

    This will depend a lot on the mass of the black hole and how close the approach is. There's no way to answer this question without further parameters.

    Basically, there are a whole bunch of different physical scenarios we could be looking at, depending on details which weren't specified in the question. This would result in different people posting answers that vary enough that they might as well be answering different questions. Even if each of these people might individually think the question is clear to them, they'd have significantly different ideas about what is being asked, and that justifies the question being considered unclear overall.

  • Second, the question just asks "what happens if...?" That's a pretty broad setup - I mean, it's beyond the scope of this site to explain everything that follows from a given set of initial conditions. What winds up happening is that different people will take different interpretations of what, specifically, the asker actually wants to know about; for example, one answer might describe the trajectory of the Earth and the black hole, another might consider the gravitational effect on the solar system, another might consider the effect of tidal forces on the Earth, another might consider the effect of radiation emitted by inspiraling gas, another might focus on how our view of the night sky could be affected, and so on. For a question to be clear and appropriately specific, it really should focus in on one or two of these effects, or something else along these lines.

    The fact that it doesn't do that would be justification to put it on hold as too broad, or perhaps unclear. This is one of those cases where those two categories overlap a bit.

  • $\begingroup$ David, that's not what he's asking, he's asking what is being simulated to cause the reactions he's seeing. Am I the only one that interpreted it that way? $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2018 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Maury "What is being simulated to cause the reactions he's seeing" isn't physics, it's just code inside a video game. That's definitely not an on-topic question. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2018 at 16:49

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