Questions tagged [singularities]

Use this tag for questions about singularities in physical quantities, i.e. cases where a quantity becomes or appears to become infinite or ill-defined. Consider the more specific tags [tag:black-holes] and [tag:wormholes] for certain kinds of singularities occuring in [tag:general-relativity]. For the procedure of "getting rid" of singularities, consider [tag:regularization].

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104
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3answers
18k views

How come some people are claiming that the Big Bang never happened?

A news story is going viral on social media networks claiming that two physicists have found a way to eliminate the Big Bang singularity, or in layman's terms (as claimed by many sensationalist news ...
60
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10answers
6k views

Do all black holes have a singularity?

If a large star goes supernova, but not enough mass collapses to form a black hole, it often forms a neutron star. My understanding is that this is the densest object that can exist because of the ...
39
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5answers
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Why do physicists trust black hole physics?

Based on popular accounts of modern physics and black holes (articles, video lectures), I have come to understand the following: Black holes are predicted by General Relativity, a classical theory of ...
39
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4answers
9k views

Are black holes very dense matter or empty?

The popular description of black holes, especially outside the academia, is that they are highly dense objects; so dense that even light (as particle or as waves) cannot escape it once it falls inside ...
36
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4answers
2k views

If I fall into an evaporating black hole, where do I end up?

This question has been bothering me for a while. I have a crude hypothesis... As I understand it, an observer falling into a black hole will cross the event horizon at some specific future (proper) ...
35
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9answers
8k 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 "...
33
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8answers
6k views

Why singularity in a black hole, and not just “very dense”?

Why does there have to be a singularity in a black hole, and not just a very dense lump of matter of finite size? If there's any such thing as granularity of space, couldn't the "singularity" be just ...
31
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4answers
4k views

Why does the Schrödinger equation work so well for the hydrogen atom despite the relativistic boundary at the nucleus?

I have been taught that the boundary conditions are just as important as the differential equation itself when solving real, physical problems. When the Schrödinger equation is applied to the ...
27
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3answers
13k views

If iron can’t undergo fusion, does that mean a black hole is mostly iron?

Since stellar fusion can’t progress beyond iron, and a large enough star collapsed into a black hole because an iron core stalled fusion, wouldn’t that mean all black holes are predominantly iron?
27
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2answers
6k views

What is the definition of a timelike and spacelike singularity?

What is the definition of a timelike and spacelike singularity? Trying to find, but haven't yet, what the definitions are.
26
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1answer
940 views

Overcharging a black hole

Hubeny's 1998 paper got a lot of people interested in determining whether cosmic censorship can be violated by dropping too much charge onto a black hole. It suggested that you might be able to get a ...
24
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3answers
3k views

What do the poles of a Green function mean, physically?

Is there a physical interpretation of the existence of poles for a Green function? In particular how can we interpret the fact that a pole is purely real or purely imaginary? It's a general question ...
22
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6answers
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Why exactly are singularities avoided or “deleted” in physics?

What is the real reason that make us reject singularities everytime we see them in a theory/model? For example, in GR, it is predicted that black holes singularities have infinite density. This makes ...
22
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7answers
3k views

Given that matter cannot escape a black hole, how did the big bang produce the universe we see today?

Extrapolation of the expansion of the Universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past. If the matter contained within our ...
22
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2answers
5k 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 ...
21
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5answers
7k views

Does red shift evidence necessarily imply that the universe started from a singularity?

We are taught that the universe began as a singularity - an infinitely small and infinitely dense point. At the beginning of time there was a 'Big Bang' or, more accurately, 'Inflation'. The main ...
21
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2answers
6k views

How can something finite become infinite?

How can the universe become infinite in spatial extent if it started as a singularity, wouldn't it take infinite time to expand into an infinite universe?
20
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6answers
57k views

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?
20
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4answers
5k views

Can two electrons get ever so close as to touch each other?

My friend and I were studying for our EM test when we started to think about what happens to the electric field near an infinite line of charge. $$E = \frac{\lambda}{2\pi\rho\epsilon_{0}}$$ As you ...
20
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2answers
588 views

Curvature Invariants in General Relativity and Singularities

Suppose that I want to check if a given metric is singular or not. I'm interested in curvature singularities, not coordinate singularities, so I can look to scalars made with Ricci, Riemann and Weyl ...
19
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6answers
2k views

Why did the universe not collapse to a black hole shortly after the big bang?

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 ...
19
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4answers
2k views

Intuitively, why do attempts to delay hitting a black hole singularity cause you to reach it faster?

In general relativity, proper time is maximized along geodesics. Inside of a black hole, all future-oriented timelike trajectories end at the singularity. Putting these two facts together, we find ...
19
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6answers
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Interpretation of a singular metric

I'm interested to find out if we can say anything useful about spacetime at the singularity in the FLRW metric that occurs at $t = 0$. If I understand correctly, the FLRW spacetime is a combination ...
19
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4answers
1k views

How long can a particle survive inside of the horizon of a black hole?

By examining the causal structure of a Schwarzschild black hole, one can see that a particle in region II is unable to escape to $r=\infty$. Such diagrams do not show, however, how long a particle ...
18
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5answers
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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 ...
17
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5answers
3k views

How can electric field be defined as force per charge, if the charge makes its own, singular electric field?

The electric field $\bf{E}$ represents how much force would act on a particle at a certain position per unit charge. However, if we actually place a particle in that position, the electric field will ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Black hole with two singularities?

I hope this question isn't too naive, but would it theoretically be possible to have a black hole with 2 singularities (or 2 black holes at the same location). If this is possible, would there be any ...
16
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3answers
2k 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 ...
16
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1answer
806 views

Current status of Penrose-Hawking “thunderbolts?”

I recently came across the interesting statement that most definitions of cosmic censorship (CC), and most work on proving it, don't exclude something that Hawking calls a "thunderbolt" (Penrose 1978, ...
15
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7answers
3k views

What does an undefined formula in physics mean?

I am trying to figure out how undefined formulas in mathematics relates to physics. Take the following formula for terminal velocity. $$V_\text{terminal} = \sqrt{ mg \over{c \rho A}} $$ Say we have ...
15
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6answers
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Why are we scared of singularities? [closed]

I often hear people say that general relativity predicted its own demise because of the singularities it predicts. If I'm not mistaken, this is also a problem in QFT. I wonder why singularities garner ...
15
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2answers
6k 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 ...
15
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6answers
2k 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 ...
15
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
14
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2answers
4k 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, ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Dirac Delta and Sloppy Notation

I am an undergraduate neuroscientist and recently I have been studying probability distributions in relation to information theory, and came across the definition of the Dirac Delta as a singular ...
14
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2answers
2k views

What does string theory predict for the singularity inside a black hole?

The usual explanation for what's going on inside a black hole goes something like "General Relativity predicts a singularity with infinite curvature, but when matters gets so tightly compressed we ...
14
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1answer
489 views

Gravitational collapse of a photon cloud

The Schwarzschild solution shows that a spherically symmetric, static fluid will undergo gravitational collapse if too much mass-energy is concentrated together (i.e. if the fluid's radius is less ...
13
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3answers
2k views

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, ...
13
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1answer
2k views

How to thoroughly distinguish a coordinate singularity and a physical singularity

In a course on general relativity I am following at the moment, it was shown that the singularity $r=2M$ in the Schwarzschild solution is a consequence of the choice of coordinates. Introducing ...
12
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3answers
4k views

Why does a singularity need to exist at the center of a black hole?

Sorry if this is a very basic question, but I am not a physicist, but this is something that has always intrigued me. I have read that the properties of a black hole are its mass, spin and angular ...
12
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2answers
10k views

How does quantization solve the ultraviolet catastrophe?

I understand how classical physics leads to the UV catastrophe. But I cannot understand how quantization solves it. How can quantization prevent the body from radiating a lot of energy? I know this ...
12
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1answer
202 views

Relationship between Weak Cosmic Censorship and Topological Censorship

The weak cosmic censorship states that any singularity cannot be in the causual past of null infinity (reference). The topological censorship hypothesis states that in a globally hyperbolic, ...
12
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1answer
568 views

Can you have black holes in your black holes?

Inspired by Are we inside a black hole?, can you have a black hole such that other black holes are in them? In particular, the event horizon of the larger black hole should completely enclose the ...
12
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7answers
10k 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 ...
12
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2answers
737 views

Does geodesic incompleteness in Penrose-Hawking theorems imply curvature blow up?

The singularity theorems in General Realtivity roughly stated say that given: A global causal condition An energy condition The existence of a closed trapped surface then spacetime must be ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Schwarzschild coordinates beyond the event horizon

We can write down the metric of the Schwarzschild black hole in Schwarzschild coordinates. On page 6 of the notes by Leonard Susskind of a course given at the Perimeter Institute titled 'Black Holes ...
11
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2answers
462 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
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1answer
7k views

Can anyone please explain Hawking-Penrose Singularity Theorems and geodesic incompleteness?

Can anyone please explain Hawking-Penrose Singularity Theorems and geodesic incompleteness? In easy to understand plain English please.
11
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2answers
295 views

Three types of singularities in black holes?

Now, please don't dismiss this question because of its entertaining context. Today I attended a lecture by Kip Thorne and at some point he mentioned, almost offhand, that a few years ago it was found ...