"Physical insight into the process may be gained by imagining that particle–antiparticle radiation is emitted from just beyond the event horizon. This radiation does not come directly from the black hole itself, but rather is a result of virtual particles being "boosted" by the black hole's gravitation into becoming real particles. As the particle–antiparticle pair was produced by the black hole's gravitational energy, the escape of one of the particles lowers the mass of the black hole."

How can virtual particle become real particles? It involves an energy transfer from the potential energy of the black to the virtual particles?

"An alternative view of the process is that vacuum fluctuations cause a particle–antiparticle pair to appear close to the event horizon of a black hole. One of the pair falls into the black hole while the other escapes. In order to preserve total energy, the particle that fell into the black hole must have had a negative energy (with respect to an observer far away from the black hole). This causes the black hole to lose mass, and, to an outside observer, it would appear that the black hole has just emitted a particle."

What does it mean for a particle to have a negative energy wrt an observer outside the black hole?

"In another model, the process is a quantum tunnelling effect, whereby particle–antiparticle pairs will form from the vacuum, and one will tunnel outside the event horizon."

Can this prediction be tested experimentally? Is there any progress in this direction so far?


There are several physical systems that can be analogous to a black hole. One of which is the sonic/acoustic black hole (or dumb hole) in which phonons can't escape a Bose-Einstein condensate that flows faster than local speed of sound, in a similiar manner to photons that can't escape the gravity well of a black hole.

In such an apparatus, Beckenstein-Hawking radiation analogue was measured expiramentally, for example:

Steinhauer, J. (2014). Observation of self-amplifying Hawking radiation in an analogue black-hole laser. Nature Physics, 10(11), 864-869. doi:10.1038/nphys3104

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