## Black hole question

So are all black holes infinitely small, which is what they call the singularity point? I'm talking about the actual distance the matter of a black hole takes up. Does a super massive black hole have the same physical size as any other black hole(which i guess would be infinitely small) and just a must larger radius of effective gravity?

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 The event horizon, the only part of the black hole that you can "see", is proportional to the mass that generated the black hole. The best theory of gravity we have, General Relativity, predicts that there is a singularity at the centre. General Relativity is thought to break down in this regime and quantum effects take over.
 Recognitions: Gold Member The singularity at the very center of a BH is a point of virtually zero size....a singularity. About all we know is that it appears space and time get mixed up there in quantum fluctuations...a quantum foam. No matter is believed to exist inside a BH....it has been compressed out of existence. 'Big' and 'small' BH refer to the size of the external event horizon....It's usually quoted with a radius r dependent of the mass M which has been swallowed: r = 2M called the Schwarszchild radius. This turns out to be a solution of formulas from Einstein's general relativity....Once something goes inside the event horizon, nothing gets out. Check out the first section here for more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole

## Black hole question

So the event horizon is proportional to the mass that generated the black hole(so maybe a collapsing star...). but is all of that mass that used to be the star condensed into an infinitely small point, or is it just packed more tightly together than it was in the star, making it have a measurable radius of actual matter that makes it up.(say a couple kilometers or something...)

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 Quote by lundyjb So the event horizon is proportional to the mass that generated the black hole(so maybe a collapsing star...). but is all of that mass that used to be the star condensed into an infinitely small point, or is it just packed more tightly together than it was in the star, making it have a measurable radius of actual matter that makes it up.(say a couple kilometers or something...)
It's really called a "singularity", not in the sense of a point, but in the sense of "we really don't know WHAT is going on in there".

As was pointed out, the math says it is a dimensionless point with infinite density, but that just means it's where the math model that we currently use breaks down and again, "we really don't know WHAT is going on in there".

The hope is that some day a theory of quantum gravity will explain what's REALLY happening.

 I still havent really got my answer. (Im probably not being clear enough). Are ALL black holes an infitely small point and their area of gravitational influence is what makes them big or small? Or are there black holes the size of, say, a marble, or the earth, but much much denser? (But theres actual matter making it up and to get to the singularity of the BH you would have to "dig" through physical matter).

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 Quote by lundyjb I still havent really got my answer. (Im probably not being clear enough). Are ALL black holes an infitely small point and their area of gravitational influence is what makes them big or small? Or are there black holes the size of, say, a marble, or the earth, but much much denser? (But theres actual matter making it up and to get to the singularity of the BH you would have to "dig" through physical matter).
According to the math, the only difference in "size" of a black hole is due to the amount of matter that goes in. The singularity is exactly what I described in my previous post, regardless of the amount of matter.

EDIT: and the "size" is the diameter of the event horizon.

 It's really called a "singularity", not in the sense of a point, but in the sense of "we really don't know WHAT is going on in there". As was pointed out, the math says it is a dimensionless point with infinite density, but that just means it's where the math model that we currently use breaks down and again, "we really don't know WHAT is going on in there".
If we don't know what is going on in there in the inside, how can we say with any conviction what's going on, on the outside.That could apply to the size of the event horizon regardless of how much mass has been used to make it.
We therefore won't know what the speed of mass at the singularity might be moving at, and therefore the size of it's event horizon might not give an indication of the amount of mass used to make it.

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 Quote by Buckleymanor If we don't know what is going on in there on the inside how can we say with any conviction what's going on in the outside.That could apply to the size of the event horizon regardless of how much mass has been used to make it. We therefore won't know what the speed of mass at the singularity might be moving at, and therefore the size of it's event horizon might not give an indication of the amount of mass used to make it.
It's been stated several times that General Relativity works for the outside of the event horizon, but not the inside. There's no current theory that explains what goes on in the inside.

 Quote by AnTiFreeze3 It's been stated several times that General Relativity works for the outside of the event horizon, but not the inside. There's no current theory that explains what goes on in the inside.
That does not explaine what happens on the outside of the event horizon for the reasons given.
That's a fudge.

 Quote by lundyjb I still havent really got my answer. (Im probably not being clear enough). Are ALL black holes an infitely small point and their area of gravitational influence is what makes them big or small? Or are there black holes the size of, say, a marble, or the earth, but much much denser? (But theres actual matter making it up and to get to the singularity of the BH you would have to "dig" through physical matter).
You are having a problem with 'infinite'. Some infinitely small black holes are infinitely smaller than others. ;)

Black holes aren't just some sort of black 'star' hanging in the sky that swallow anyone who gets too close. They are places where time and space literally end. We can't even guess what that might mean for the existence of matter.

Long before you get to the singularity itself, ordinary matter ceases to exist as first the orbiting electrons are forced into the nucleus then the nucleus itself is crushed into ??? and then snuffed out as space itself ceases to exist and time ends.

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 Quote by lundyjb So are all black holes infinitely small, which is what they call the singularity point? I'm talking about the actual distance the matter of a black hole takes up. Does a super massive black hole have the same physical size as any other black hole(which i guess would be infinitely small) and just a must larger radius of effective gravity?
If you want you could impose Planck units which are suppose to be the boundary that length, mass and time lose meaning (some theories predict that the mass within black holes collapse to within about 50% of Planck density) though due to rotation, I think the whole idea of an absolute singularity is mute (in some ways, an absolutely static black hole is on par with the likes of reaching absolute zero K or reaching the speed of light, i.e. it's not possible) every BH, no matter how slight, will have some degree of rotation, which means there may be an inner horizon where time-like worldlines are reinstated, the singularity may reside at the surface of this horizon or within where due to the time-like worldlines, mass wouldn't have to collapse to r=0.

 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Just to clarify...not all black holes have a point - singularity. Rotating (kerr) black holes have ring singularities.

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 It's been stated several times that General Relativity works for the outside of the event horizon, but not the inside. There's no current theory that explains what goes on in the inside.
This is incorrect.

That is NOT what has been stated.

GR works inside the event horizon down to the singularity...at the singularity GR and QM break down...it is only at the singularity that we have no theory...this is pretty clearly described in the above posts....

 How can something have infinite density? That would mean the volume is zero, right? If the volume of something is zero, then how can it even exist? Zero volume would be literally nothing.

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 Quote by leroyjenkens How can something have infinite density? That would mean the volume is zero, right? If the volume of something is zero, then how can it even exist? Zero volume would be literally nothing.
So do you think maybe that's why we say that the singularity is the place where the math / models just break down and don't give meaningful answer?

 Quote by phinds So do you think maybe that's why we say that the singularity is the place where the math / models just break down and don't give meaningfull answer?
It's a leap of imagination to allow something that does not have a meanigfull answer to have one.
If the math on on the inside is not right how can the math be right on the outside unless one allows for wishfull thinking.