For an outside observer the time seems to stop at the event horizon. My intuition suggests, that if it stops there, then it must go backwards inside. Is this the case?

This question is a followup for the comment I made for this question: Are we inside a black hole?

Food for thought: if time stops at the event horizon (for an outside observer), for inside, my intuition suggests, time should go backwards. So for matter, that's already inside when the black hole forms, it won't fall towards a singularity but would fall outwards towards the event horizon due to this time reversal. So inside there would be an outward gravitational force. It would be fascinating if it turns out that all this cosmological redshift, and expansion we observe, is just the effect of an enormous event horizon outside pulling the stuff outwards.

So from outside: we see nothing fall in, and see nothing come out.

And from inside: we see nothing fall out, and see nothing come in.

Hopefully the answers make this clear, and I learn a bit more about the GR. :)

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    $\begingroup$ The answer is no, time doesn't go backwards inside a black hole. Just because your intution tells you it should, that doesn't mean it's a reasonable scientific hypothesis or that there can be a productive discussion of it based on known scientific principles. $\endgroup$
    – user4552
    May 5, 2013 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Time does not run backwards inside a black hole for the same reason that time does not forwards inside a black hole, or backwards outside a black hole, or forwards inside a black hole. Time does not "run". $\endgroup$
    – WillO
    Jan 11, 2016 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ The widespread notion that time runs backward within black holes may result partly from the common belief that objects that have reached the apparent event horizon spend an asymptotically-infinite time crossing it, from the viewpoint of an observer outside it: Explaining this delay (which was first hypothesized by those Russian astrophysicists who called BHs "frozen stars") may involve averaging inward and outward temporal or entropic directions that are opposed to each other across the horizon. Neither my Russian nor my math / physics permit elaboration of this idea, which I'd like to see. $\endgroup$
    – Edouard
    Jul 22, 2019 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ Nobody has sent a clock back from beyond the event horizon, so any answer would be conjecture based on scientific models of how things work outside the event horizon. This is not, however, to lend any credence to alternative explanations for black holes. There is little reason to expect that the region inside an event horizon behaves inconsistently with known physical laws. $\endgroup$
    – user121330
    Feb 14 at 8:07

4 Answers 4


It's easy to forget that, in the context of relativity, there is no universal time. You write:

For an outside observer the time seems to stop at the event horizon. My intuition suggests, that if it stops there, then it must go backwards inside. Is this the case?

But your intuition doesn't seem to take into account that, for an observer falling into the hole, time doesn't stop at the event horizon.

The point is that one must be much more careful in their thinking about time within the framework of general relativity where time is a coordinate and coordinates are arbitrary.

In fact, within the event horizon, the radial coordinate becomes time-like and the time coordinate becomes space-like. This simply means that, to "back up" inside the event horizon is as impossible as moving backwards in time outside the event horizon.

In other words, the essential reason it is impossible to avoid the singularity once within the horizon is precisely that one must move forward through time which, due to the extreme curvature within the horizon, means moving towards the central singularity.

  • $\begingroup$ Spotting impressions that are artifacts of the coordinate system may be difficult, although Nikodem Poplawski uses Einstein-Cartan gravity in a 2010 torsion-based theory that, with a direction of time accompanying fermions that have become separated (from their partners in virtual pairs) thru a combination of the event horizon's outward propagation and tidal effects in the collapsing star, allows the acceleration of many (by contact with the spin of stellar fermions of a larger spatial scale), together with reversal of their trajectories, with a white hole resulting, inboard of the EH. $\endgroup$
    – Edouard
    Jul 22, 2019 at 6:06

Your intuition is misguided, time does not run backwards inside a black hole. For an observer inside a black hole, time passes in a perfectly "normal" way, such as it does at the horizon. The stopping of time of time at the horizon is, as you mentioned, a phenomenon that only an outside observer experiences. It can for example be measured by noticing change of the received frequency of light signals which are emitted from near the horizon at constant frequency.


Let me make sure I have this right. An outside observer watching an object entering a black hole will either see that object slow down to the point where it seems to stop or the object will disappear because the light from that object can't escape the gravitational pull.

As for an observer entering the black hole, time continues to go on as normal or/and the outside universe seems to age faster the deeper the observer enters the black hole; this I have a major problem with.

I agree with the general consensus about how an outside observer would perceive an object entering a black hole because we have conducted experiments that show time is affected by gravity; the differences in time on earth compared to space. What I don't agree with is how time is perceived by an observer entering a black hole because it is all a mystery. Maybe time does go backwards.

Maybe time continues as normal. Maybe the black hole is a giant worm hole to another dimension. I only bring this up because some of the responses to this question seem to indicate they know what happens as though it is fact. The truth is the black holes are a mystery.

The physics that we believe rule the known universe could be completely different than the physics that occur in a black hole.


GR equations break down at the singularity at a minimum, and arguably at the event horizon. So, these confident folks that time doesn't run backwards are the misguided ones. Use your imagination... just try to come up with a way to test the theory.

  • $\begingroup$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. $\endgroup$
    – ZaellixA
    Feb 14 at 7:29

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