A black hole is a volume from which photons, or any matter, can not escape. More formally, the coordinate speed of light at the event horizon - the boundary of a black hole - is zero, as measured by a sufficiently separated observer.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

14
votes
3answers
970 views

Has the black hole information loss paradox been settled?

This question was triggered by a comment of Peter Shor's (he is a skeptic, it seems.) I thought that the holographic principle and AdS/CFT dealt with that, and was enough for Hawking to give John ...
14
votes
3answers
347 views

Is the flatness of space a measure of entropy?

This is a bit quirky: For a very long time I've found Stephen Hawking's evaporating small black holes a lot more reasonable and intuitive than large black holes. The main reason is that gravity is ...
14
votes
1answer
354 views

How is the logarithmic correction to the entropy of a non extremal black hole derived?

I`ve just read, that for non extremal black holes, there exists a logarithmic (and other) correction(s) to the well known term proportional to the area of the horizon such that $S = \frac{A}{4G} + K ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is a black hole black?

In general relativity (ignoring Hawking radiation), why is a black hole black? Why nothing, not even light, can escape from inside a black hole? To make the question simpler, say, why is a ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

How to get Planck length

I know that what Planck length equals to. The first question is, how do you get the formula $$\ell_P~=~\sqrt\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}$$ that describes the Planck length? The second question is, will any ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Does any particle ever reach any singularity inside the black hole?

I am not a professional physicist, so I may say something rubbish in here, but this question has always popped in my mind every time I read or hear anyone speak of particles hitting singularities and ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Can one black hole suck in another black hole?

In the recent news, scientists at NASA have found “unprecedented” black hole cluster near Andromeda’s central bulge. I wonder why doesn't all these black holes merge and such each other in until just ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

If the observable universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be?

I understand only a little of general relativity, but that's why I'm here! :) Consider the hypothetical situation of some extra-terrestrial intelligence pushing all the mass in the observable ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Are elementary particles ultimate fate of black holes?

From the "no hair theorem" we know that black holes have only 3 characteristic external observables, mass, electric charge and angular momentum (except the possible exceptions in the higher ...
13
votes
3answers
573 views

Extremal black hole with no angular momentum and no electric charge

A black hole will have a temperature that is a function of the mass, the angular momentum and the electric charge. For a fixed mass, Angular momentum and electric charge are bounded by the extremality ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why don't the black holes appear black in color in images of galaxies taken from HST?

According to NASA a black hole is anything but empty space. Rather, it is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area According to the documentary Space Unraveling The Cosmos about ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Would the inside of a black hole be like a giant mirror?

As any light reflected or emitted from objects inside a black hole (if it is possible to be there) does not leave the event horizon and comes back inside, would it be like seeing yourself? What I ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How would a black hole power plant work?

A black hole power plant (BHPP) is something I'll define here as a machine that uses a black hole to convert mass into energy for useful work. As such, it constitutes the 3rd kind of matter-energy ...
12
votes
6answers
9k views

Why can't light escape from a classical black hole?

Photons do not have (rest) mass (that's why they can move at speed of "light"). So, my question is how the gravity of classical$^1$ black hole can stop light from escaping? -- $^1$ We ignore ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

The final death of a black hole

What are the different death scenarios for a black hole? I know they can evaporate through Hawking radiation - but is there any other way? What if you just kept shoveling more and more mass and ...
12
votes
2answers
474 views

black hole no-hair theorems vs. entropy and surface area

I was revisiting some old popular science books a while ago and two statements struck me as incompatible. No-hair theorems: a black hole is fully-described by just a few numbers (mass, spin etc) ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Anti-Matter Black Holes

Assuming for a second that there were a pocket of anti matter somewhere sufficiently large to form all the type of object we can see forming from normal matter - then one of these objects would be a ...
12
votes
3answers
10k views

How do we determine the mass of a black hole?

Since by definition we cannot observe black holes directly, how do astronomers determine the mass of a black hole? What observational techniques are there that would allow us to determine a black ...
12
votes
2answers
841 views

If two ultra-relativistic billiard balls just miss, will they still form a black hole?

This forum seems to agree that a billiard ball accellerated to ultra-relativistic speeds does not turn into a black hole. (See recent question "If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What happens when a black hole and an “anti-black-hole” collide?

Let's say we have one black hole that formed through the collapse of hydrogen gas and another that formed through the collapse of anti-hydrogen gas. What happens when they collide? Do they (1) ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Euclidean derivation of the black hole temperature; conical singularities

I am studying the derivation of the black hole temperature by means of the Euclidean approach, i.e. by Wick rotating, compactifying the Euclidean time and identifying the period with the inverse ...
12
votes
2answers
262 views

Bekenstein entropy black hole v.s Hawking entropy black hole

Historically, Bekenstein estimated the entropy associated with a black hole in 1973, obtaining: $$ S_B = \frac{\ln(2)k_Bc^3}{8\pi\hbar G}A. $$ He already acknowledges in his article that his estimates ...
12
votes
1answer
347 views

Quantum uncertainty of particle falling in black hole

A stationary observer at infinity sees a particle of mass m falling in a supermassive Schwarzschild black hole. He observes an increasing redshift and sees the particle ceasing to progress when it ...
12
votes
3answers
662 views

Why is there a flux of radiation in the Hawking effect but not in the Unruh effect? (and other questions)

This question is slightly related to this one Do all massive bodies emit Hawking radiation?, which I think was poorly posed and so didn't get very useful answers. There are several questions in this ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What happens when the black hole at a galactic core eats the galaxy? [duplicate]

I'm making several assumptions, not sure if any are correct: there is a black hole at the center of a galaxy the black hole is eating the galaxy Eventually the galaxy will be gone, right? Has ...
11
votes
4answers
668 views

Big Bang snuffed by a black hole?

Wasn't the density of the universe at the moment after the Big Bang so great as to create a black hole? If the answer is that the universe/space-time can expand anyway what does it imply about what ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How can a singularity in a black hole rotate if it's just a point?

I guess nobody really knows the true nature of black holes, however, based on everything I know about black holes, there is a "singularity" at their center, which has finite mass but is infinitely ...
11
votes
4answers
734 views

At what rate does a rotating black hole lose mass via Hawking Radiation?

I initially thought it was inversely proportional to the mass, but I think that's wrong because temperature is inversely proportional to mass. If someone could give the formula(s) for finding this ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Can we have a black hole without a singularity?

Assuming we have a sufficiently small and massive object such that it's escape velocity is greater than the speed of light, isn't this a black hole? It has an event horizon that light cannot escape, ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

How would you describe a black hole to a complete layman?

Non-astrophysicist visitors to Black Hole, will most likely barely make it past the introduction before getting lost in the technical details. Moreover, the Wikipedia article does not teach laypeople ...
11
votes
5answers
551 views

Binary Black Hole Solution of General Relativity?

This is rather a technical question for experts in General Relativity. An accessible link would be an accepable answer, although any additional discussion is welcome. GR has well known solutions ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Can black holes actually merge?

If time stops at the event horizon, can we ever detect two black holes merging? In other words, if you are a short distance away, would you encounter a spherically symmetric gravitational field, or a ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Why must a singularity form inside a black hole? [duplicate]

What is the exact reason that normal matter can not exist within an event horizon? I can understand how a super-dense object like a neutron star could accrete mass until its physical radius is less ...
11
votes
5answers
874 views

Double slit experiment near event horizon

What happens if you perform a double slit experiment near an event horizon, if one of the slits is outside, one is inside the event horizon?
11
votes
2answers
229 views

What is a sudden singularity?

I've seen references to some sort of black hole (or something) referred to as a sudden singularity, but I haven't seen a short clear definition of what this is for the layman.
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What happens to light and mass in the center of a black hole?

I know that black holes are "black" because nothing can escape it due to the massive gravity, but I am wondering if there are any theories as to what happens to the light or mass that enters a black ...
11
votes
1answer
462 views

How many bits are encoded on the surface of the smallest black hole?

Here's my guess ($157\, \textrm{bits}$) and how I got there. Please feel free to disregard completely and give your own answer. My understanding (please correct any wrong assumptions as there may be ...
11
votes
2answers
189 views

Black hole “no hair” theorem

The "no hair" theorem (or conjecture), suggests that black holes can be entirely described by their mass, angular momentum and charge. All other details of the BH formation are lost. Is there a ...
11
votes
3answers
942 views

Is the observable region of the universe within the event horizon of a super-massive black hole?

Observations: I have read that for a free-falling observer within the event horizon of a black hole that all lines of sight will end at the singularity which is black. I also look up and see that ...
11
votes
3answers
610 views

Evidence for black hole event horizons

I know that there's a lot of evidence for extremely compact bodies. But is there any observation from which we can infer the existence of an actual horizon? Even if we are able to someday resolve ...
11
votes
2answers
833 views

If a Kerr-Newman black hole is like a charged, spinning, heavy magnet, what kind of magnet is it like?

I was reading up on De Sitter spaces, which states that the gravitational effects from a black hole is indistinguishable from any other spherically symmetric mass distribution. This makes a lot of ...
11
votes
1answer
326 views

General definition of an event horizon?

Horizons are in general observer-dependent. For example, in Minkowski space, an observer who experiences constant proper acceleration has a horizon. Black hole horizons are usually defined as ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

Why does a black hole have a finite mass?

I mean besides the obvious "it has to have finite mass or it would suck up the universe." A singularity is a dimensionless point in space with infinite density, if I'm not mistaken. If something is ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

What are cosmological “firewalls”?

Reading the funny title of this talk, Black Holes and Firewalls, just made me LOL because I have no idea what it is about but a lively imagination :-P (Sorry Raphael Bousso but the title is just too ...
10
votes
3answers
645 views

Are black holes really singularities?

A popular assumption about black holes is that their gravity grows beyond any limit so it beats all repulsive forces and the matter collapses into a singularity. Is there any evidence for this ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Why can't dark matter be black holes?

Since 90 % of matter is what we cannot see, why can't it be black-holes from early on? Is is possible to figure out that there are no black holes in the line of sight of various stars/galaxies we ...
10
votes
3answers
223 views

How does the Pauli exclusion principle create a force in degenerate matter?

My understanding is that when it comes to forming a white dwarf, it is the electron degeneracy pressure, due to the Pauli Exclusion Principle, preventing collapse in of the white dwarf. If the ...
10
votes
2answers
841 views

Black Hole Photon Sphere

The photon sphere is a spherical region in space where photons are forced to travel in an orbit at $r = \frac{3GM}{c^{2}}$. Is it possible to detect these spheres? What happens if I fall through ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles?

What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles? I have read that it is $$\sigma ~=~ \frac{27}{4}\pi R^{2}_{s}$$ for a Schwarzschild BH in the geometric ...
10
votes
5answers
670 views

Is it possible for one black hole to pull an object out of another black hole?

Suppose we have a spacecraft just inside the event horizon of a black hole, struggling to escape, but slowly receding into it. Another (bigger) black hole expands until its event horizon includes the ...