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.

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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 ...
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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 ...
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How many times can light revolve around a black hole?

Take a light ray approaching a black hole from infinity which goes out again to infinity. What is the maximum finite rotation it can describe? (I know it can loop around indefinitely in the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Hawking radiation and reversibility

It's often said that, as long as the information that fell into a black hole comes out eventually in the Hawking radiation (by whatever means), pure states remain pure rather than evolving into mixed ...
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Would the horizon of a black hole be different for a tachyon than for subluminal matter or photons?

One of the most useful black hole analogies I've seen imagines that space is "flowing" like a river into a black hole, and the point at which it flows in faster than c is the horizon. This analogy ...
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Extended object passing near an event horizon

Suppose a physically realistic object of nontrivial size (such as a star) free-falls past a black hole. The center-of-mass trajectory for the object is hyperbolic and (therefore) completely outside ...
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Will the Big Rip tear black holes apart?

There seems to be an obvious contradiction between the predictions of the physics of black holes and the Big Rip, a predicted event about 16.7 Gyr in the future where local groups, galaxies, solar ...
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Are electrons just incompletely evaporated black holes?

Imagine a black hole that is fast-approaching its final exponential throws of Hawking evaporation. Presumably, at all points in this end process there there will remain a region that identifiably ...
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What methods can astronomers use to find a black hole?

How can astronomers say, we know there are black holes at the centre of each galaxy? What methods of indirect detection are there to know where and how big a black hole is?
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Thought Experiment - Poking a stick across a Black Hole's Event Horizon

The classical explanation of a black hole says that if you get to close, you reach a point - the event horizon radius - from which you cannot escape even travelling at the speed of light. Then they ...
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What happens to atoms inside a black hole?

Black holes have very high gravitational force that tends to crush everything. So as we know atoms in a molecule have inter-atomic spacing between them and further electrons also revolve at a certain ...
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Could an ultra-relativistic particle tunnel directly through a stellar mass black hole?

It occurred to me in passing that the Lorentz contraction of a black hole from the perspective of an ultra-relativistic (Lorentz factor larger than about 10^16) particle could reduce the thickness of ...
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If you are carrying a magnet, can you tell when you cross the event horizon of a black hole?

By the no hair theorem, a black hole is completely characterized by it's mass, charge and angular momentum. Therefore dipole and higher pole magnetic fields are completely expelled when a black hole ...
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Can a black hole form due to Lorentz contraction? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of light would it turn into a black hole? Imagine, a rod of length L is moving with velocity approaching the speed of ...
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Global symmetry in string theory

It is often stated that in quantum gravity only charges coupled to gauge fields can be conserved. This is because of the no hair theorem. If a charge is coupled to a gauge field then when it falls ...
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What is exactly the density of a black hole and how can it be calculated?

How do scientists calculate that density? What data do they have to calculate that?
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Second Law of Black Hole Thermodynamics

I've been looking for a satisfying proof of this, and can't quite find it. I read the brief proof of the black hole area theorem in Wald, which is similar, but doesn't quite come down to the actual ...
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What is the maximum time dilation factor when orbiting a rotating black hole?

Suppose one spaceship is stably orbiting a rotating black hole and another is far away from the black hole. What is the maximum time dilation factor between the two ships? Can it be made arbitrarily ...
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Why don't black holes form from forces other than gravity?

Gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces, so what is so special about gravity that it can form an inescapably strong field while a force like the EM force cannot? It seems to me that if there ...
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Solid objects inside the event horizon - can they remain “solid”?

So, once something is inside a black hole's event horizon, it can only move towards the center. This is fine for a point-object. But 3D solid objects rely on molecular forces to stay in one piece. ...
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What are the implications for the AdS/Cft program if AdS is unstable?

To my understanding recent progress in the study of the non linear stability of AdS spacetime suggest that $AdS$ might be unstable. If this is true, what are the physical and mathematical ...
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Why does angular momentum shorten the Schwarzschild Radius of a black hole?

Angular momentum causes the event horizon of a black hole to recede. At maximum angular momentum, $J=GM^2/c$, the Schwarzschild radius is half of what it would be if the black hole wasn't spinning. ...
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Black hole complementarity - absorption of Hawking radiation

I try to understand two principles formulated by Leonard Susskind in his book The Black Hole War: 1, To any observer who remains outside a black hole, the stretched horizon appears to be a hot layer ...
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Event horizons without singularities

Someone answered this question by saying that black hole entropy conditions and no-hair theorems are asymptotic in nature -- the equations give an ideal solution which is approached quickly but never ...
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Which way do black hole jets spin?

The centers of black holes and quasars often have jets coming out the two poles of an accretion disk, say north and south. Is it known if the two jets spin in the same direction or opposite ...
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Is the Hawking radiation of a charged black hole thermal?

Suppose you have a Schwarzschild black hole of mass $M$ and angular parameter $a = 0$ (no rotation). Question: is it possible to throw a charge $Q$ at a faster rate than it will be re-radiated? Will ...
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Entering a black hole, jumping into another universe---with questions

I'm quite familiar with SR, but I have very limited understanding in GR, singularities, and black holes. My friend, which is well-read and is interested in general physics, said that we can "jump" ...
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Why don't electrons collaspe into black holes? [duplicate]

An electron has a mass of $9.10938291(40) \times 10^{−31} kg$. It also has a volume of $0 m^3$. This would imply it has infinite density. Shouldn't that make it collapse into a black hole? Why doesn't ...
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What is the physical size of a black hole?

Something that's always confused me. How large is a black hole's physical size - not mass? From descriptions, it would seem that the 'singularity' is a single point, but is it really? Say for ...
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What happens to orbits at small radii in general relativity?

I know that (most) elliptic orbits precess due to the math of general relativity, like this: source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem_in_general_relativity I also know that something ...
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How will the super massive black hole affect our galaxy?

I've recently learned that the general consensus is that several (if not, most) galaxies have super massive black holes in their center, in particular the Milky Way. This, at least to me, makes ...
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Collision of charged black holes

Suppose there are two charged black holes which collide to form a bigger black hole. But when they combine, a lot of potential energy of the system is lost/gained depending on their charges (the ...
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AdS Space Boundary and Geodesics

I'm new to working with AdS space and am primarily concerned with black holes. I'm just playing round with the metric for AdS$_4$ $$ds^2=-f(r)dt^2+f^{-1}(r)dr^2+r^2d\zeta^2$$ for $f(r)=r^2+m $, ...
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Fighting a black hole: Could a strong spherical shell inside an event horizon resist falling in to the singularity?

As a thought experiment imagine an incredibly strong spherical shell with a diameter a bit smaller than the event horizon of a particular large black hole. The shell is split into two hemispheres, ...
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Information Preservation and Burning Books

I recently read an article in the NY Times called A Black Hole Mystery Wrapped in a Firewall Paradox. I really liked the article, but reading one quote immediately made me think of asking Physics.SE a ...
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Deriving Birkhoff's Theorem

I am trying to derive Birkhoff's theorem in GR as an exercise: a spherically symmetric gravitational field is static in the vacuum area. I managed to prove that $g_{00}$ is independent of t in the ...
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If an anti-matter singularity and a normal matter singularity, of equal masses, collided would we (outside the event horizon) see an explosion? [duplicate]

If an anti-matter singularity and a normal matter singularity, of equal masses, collided would we (outside the event horizon) see an explosion?
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If Black Hole never forms, how important will be to study Black Hole paradoxes?

I recently came across a paper Black Hole - Never Forms, or Never Evaporates. It is claimed that under general evaporation conditions, before particles come into the Black Hole, the Black Hole itself ...
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How does the star that has collapsed to form a Schwarschild black hole appear to an observer falling into the black hole?

I understand that to an outside observer, the light from a star that is collapsing into a black hole will become more and more red-shifted as the surface of the star appears to approach the black hole ...
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Is it expected that all stellar black holes will be spinning near the maximum allowed $\omega$-velocity?

Using a bit of classical reasoning I'm imagining black hole formation to be much like an ice skater pulling in her arms: Now, the size difference between a star and its black hole can't even be ...
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Multipolar expansion profile of Hawking radiation on Kerr black holes

I would be very curious if Kerr black holes emit Hawking radiation at the same temperature in the equatorial bulges and in their polar regions. I've been looking some reference for this for a couple ...
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Will a black hole eventually turn into a neutron star?

As far as i understand, black holes radiate away energy in form of Hawking Radiation. Thus, they lose mass, i suppose. Is there a point where the mass becomes too small for the object to still be a ...
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Surface gravity of Kerr black hole

I'm going through Kerr metric, and following the 'Relativist's toolkit' derivation of the surface gravity, I've come to a part that I don't understand. Firstly, the metric is given by ...
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Could micro black holes obey the Eddington limit?

A stellar-mass black hole has recently been discovered in the Andromeda galaxy. One interesting part of the release is that this black hole shines close to its Eddington limit. Quasars are ...
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Thermodynamically reversed black holes, firewalls, Casimir effect, null energy condition violations

Scott Aaronson asked a very deep question at Hawking radiation and reversibility about what happens if black hole evolution is reversed thermodynamically. Most of the commenters missed his point ...
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How do we know that black holes evaporate?

This has been bugging me for some time. As I understand it, Hawking radiation is the result of the mismatch between the vacuum state of a quantum field as seen by a free falling observer (falling ...
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Is it mathematically possible for a black hole to be connected to a white hole or a worm hole?

I know that there's no evidence at this point for "white holes" however would it even be mathematically possible for a black hole to be connected to a white hole (total opposite so everything would be ...