blackholeexists

Do Black Holes Really Exist?

The purpose of this article is to discuss the title question from several different viewpoints, in order to show that it isn’t as simple as it looks. We will look at some common misconceptions that lead people to think the answer must be “no”, and we will look at some of the issues involved that prevent the answer from being a simple “yes”.

The first order of business is to define what we mean by the term “black hole”. The common pop-science definition, “a region from which nothing, not even light, can escape”, is actually a pretty good starting point (which is not always the case with pop science definitions). The key thing we need to tighten it up into something rigorous is to define exactly what “escape” means. In the usual idealized model of a black hole, it is viewed as being surrounded by empty space, and the hole’s gravity gets weaker and weaker as we move farther and farther away from it in this empty space, so the geometry of spacetime gets closer and closer to being flat. The technical term for a spacetime like this is “asymptotically flat”.

We might think that this is enough: “escape” just means that spacetime is asymptotically flat, and whatever it is that is escaping can get arbitrarily far away from the hole, into the region where the geometry of spacetime is arbitrarily close to being flat. The usual shorthand expression for this is “escape to infinity”. Only something outside the hole’s horizon can do this.

But it turns out that there is an additional wrinkle here: there is more than one possible “infinity” in an asymptotically flat spacetime. In fact, there are five; they are called future and past timelike infinity, future and past null infinity, and spacelike infinity. Why is this? Because spacetime includes time as well as space, so there are three kinds of curves, timelike, null, and spacelike, and the first two kinds have two different directions, future, and past. (Technically speaking, the light cone at every event in spacetime has two interior regions–future and past–which are disconnected, but only one exterior region–the spacelike region.) Each of these, if extended indefinitely, ends up at a different “infinity”.

So the question now is, which of the five infinities do we pick to define “escape”? The answer turns out to be future null infinity. If you think about it, this makes sense: “escape” should be to the future, not the past, and light moves faster than anything else, so if light rays can’t reach future null infinity from some region of spacetime, it seems evident that timelike objects certainly won’t be able to reach future timelike infinity either. And that turns out to be the case when we do the math, so we arrive at our rigorous definition of a black hole: it is a region of spacetime that cannot send light signals to future null infinity. Or, in somewhat more technical language, a black hole is a region of spacetime that is not in the causal past of future null infinity.

Now we can look at the first common misconception about black holes, which is that they can’t be formed at all because it takes an infinite amount of time for an object to fall to the event horizon. The usual counterargument to this is to point out that “infinite time” as it is used here is coordinate-dependent: the “time” in question is not an invariant, and so it doesn’t in itself have any physical meaning. And we can compute invariants, such as the proper time needed to reach the horizon by the infalling object’s clock, and show that they are finite.

But armed with the above definition, we have a much simpler response: is there a region of spacetime that is not in the causal past of future null infinity? If there is, a black hole is present, regardless of whether there is some coordinate chart in which it takes an infinite amount of time for something to fall into it. And can such a region form in a spacetime that starts out not containing one? Yes, it can; this has been demonstrated by explicitly constructing models that have this property (the first was the classic Oppenheimer-Snyder model published in their 1939 paper). So the first common misconception is indeed a misconception: there definitely are self-consistent solutions of the Einstein Field Equations that contain black hole regions, and objects that can form such regions by collapse, even though coordinate charts exist for these solutions in which coordinate time on the horizon becomes infinite (where “becomes infinite” is a sloppy way of saying “is not well-defined”).

So far we have been discussing “classical” black holes, without considering any quantum effects. A well-known theorem due to Hawking says that such a black hole can never decrease in size (where “size” here means the area of its horizon); and a well-known argument due to Bekenstein says that this is in fact just an application of the second law of thermodynamics to black holes, with the horizon area being the hole’s entropy. But Hawking also discovered something else: if we include quantum effects, the area theorem can be violated, and a black hole can lose mass, in a process known as Hawking radiation. (Note that the second law still holds in this case; the hole’s entropy decreases, but the entropy of the radiation must be included as well, and when it is, the total entropy still increases.)

This brings us to the second common misconception about black holes, which is that, when Hawking radiation is included in the picture, a black hole can’t form because it would evaporate before anything had a chance to fall into it. Again, there are counterarguments saying that, for an evaporating black hole, it no longer takes an infinite time, even by the coordinate charts referred to above, for something to fall in, and when the coordinates are adapted properly, objects fall in before the hole evaporates away. But again, armed with our definition above, there is a much simpler response: are there self-consistent models that include a region that is not in the causal past of future null infinity, even if such a region later disappears due to evaporation? Yes, there are; the simplest one is due to Hawking himself. So again, this common misconception is in fact a misconception. In fact, there are self-consistent solutions that show the whole process, from the formation of a black hole by gravitational collapse where none existed before, all the way to the hole finally evaporating away due to Hawking radiation.

You might have noticed, though, that so far I have been careful to use the word “model” when describing what our physical theories say about black holes. Models are not reality. The real question is, do we have evidence that the mathematical models I described above are actually realized somewhere in our universe? That is what it would mean for black holes to “really exist”, and the fact that common misconceptions about the models are wrong does not in itself prove that the models describe nature.

The honest answer to this last question above is that we don’t know for sure. The main reason is that we don’t (yet) have a good theory of quantum gravity, so we don’t know whether Hawking radiation is really the only significant change to the classical black hole model that we have to deal with. It is possible that there are other quantum effects that, when properly taken into account, will prevent a true black hole from ever forming–i.e., will prevent any region of spacetime from ever truly leaving the causal past of future null infinity. Currently, there are two schools of thought about this:

(1) The general heuristic that many physicists use to determine when quantum gravity effects should become important is that the spacetime curvature has to be very large–large enough to be equivalent (via the Einstein Field Equation) to a density approaching the Planck density–one Planck mass per Planck volume, or about ##10^{94}## times the density of water. But for any black hole we would expect to detect by astronomy (which would be roughly the mass of the Sun or larger), the spacetime curvature at and well inside the horizon is much, much smaller than this. So by this heuristic, we would expect classical GR to be a good approximation at and well inside the horizon, meaning that we would not expect quantum corrections to prevent true black holes–regions not in the causal past of future null infinity–from forming, even if quantum corrections did change what happened deep inside those regions.

(2) However, there is another rule which, at least in the view of the quantum physicists who make the argument, is much more than a general heuristic–it’s a law of nature, part of the bedrock of quantum mechanics. This law is called “unitarity”, and it basically means that quantum information can’t be created or destroyed. But at least in the simple model of a black hole, even an evaporating one, any quantum information that falls inside the horizon does get destroyed, when it hits the singularity. So on this view, at the very least, quantum effects must prevent a singularity from ever forming. But when you look at the structure of the evaporating black hole models, you see that it’s very hard, if not impossible, to remove the singularity without also removing the horizon–in other words, without changing the spacetime structure to something that does not have a region which is not in the causal past of future null infinity. So on this view, quantum effects must end up preventing true black holes from ever forming, even if we don’t understand quite how they would do this.

It’s important to note that position (2) above does not necessarily imply that there can’t be horizons at all, only that there can’t be true event horizons. But there is another kind of horizon called an “apparent horizon”, which is a surface at which, heuristically speaking, radially outgoing light does not move outward, but stays in the same place. (The technical definition is that the expansion of congruence of radially outgoing null geodesics is zero.) This does not necessarily make the apparent horizon a true event horizon, because “stays in the same place” is only local–radially outgoing light that is staying in the same place at one event might, at some future event, start moving outward, so it would end up ultimately escaping to future null infinity. (Note that, for this to happen, the area theorem must be violated; in pure classical GR, where black holes can never decrease in mass, any apparent horizon will always have an event horizon at or outside it. The latter will be the case if the matter is falling into the hole: the event horizon increases in area smoothly, while the apparent horizon “jumps” suddenly outward.)

The reason this is important is that all of the methods we have for actually testing, observationally, for the presence of horizons can’t tell us whether the horizon we think we have detected is a true horizon or only an apparent horizon. The only way to know for sure would be to know the entire future of the universe, which, of course, we can’t know. So the fact that we have observed a number of compact regions in which there appear to be horizons (basically, because things fall into them and don’t come out and they’re too compact to be anything else) does not, in itself, allow us to test positions (1) vs. (2). We have to find other, indirect ways of exploring the issue, and the field is simply too young for there to have been much time to do so.

(I should also note that there are proposed mechanisms, referred to by terms like “firewalls”, by which quantum effects would destroy infalling objects before they ever reach a horizon, preventing any violation of unitarity; and there are also proposed mechanisms by which quantum effects would prevent even apparent horizons from forming, by basically pumping enough energy into collapsing matter via quantum effects to reverse the collapse and make it explode before it had a chance to become compact enough to form an apparent horizon. These proposals do not appear to be holding up very well under scrutiny, so I won’t say more about them here, but it’s important to be aware that they exist.)

So to summarize: the answer to the title question may end up being “no”, but if so, it won’t be for any of the simplistic reasons associated with common misconceptions about black holes–i.e., it won’t be because they take an infinite time to form, or because they would evaporate away before anything had a chance to fall in, or anything like that. We don’t know for sure whether the answer is “yes” or “no” at this point, but we expect to learn a lot more about the subject as we continue research into quantum gravity.

 

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  1. rjbeery says:

    [QUOTE=”jambaugh, post: 5336859, member: 76054″]Your remaining post not withstanding, here’s my position. There are 2 questions:
    i. [I]Is GR right or mostly right? (e.g. to the extent that its prediction of BH’s requires they exist in galactic centers given the amount of mass there.)[/I]
    and
    ii. [I]Do Black Holes Exist? (as a more general question than above.)[/I]
    [/QUOTE]
    My position is that GR does [I]not [/I]predict that BH’s exist in galactic centers given the amount of mass there. I’m claiming that GR could be perfectly correct but that we are misinterpreting (or simply not clarifying precisely) what we mean by “exists”.

  2. rjbeery says:

    [QUOTE=”maline, post: 5336818, member: 506251″]The idea that an observer “claims” that two events are simultaneous- meaning that there is a well-defined inertial frame centered on that observer- is true in SR & [B]locally[/B] in GR but not in situations involving large distances & gravity. Any coordinate map you define on spacetime has some objects with coordinate acceleration that does not come from any force. So to ask whether a spacelike separated object “exists now” is really and truly meaningless- if you like, and work at it long enough, you can draw up a map that will label your point of interest with the same time coordinate as your present. It will be just as valid as any other map, so long as you work out all the Christoffel symbols etcetera whenever you want to predict anything. As far as I know you can do this for the interior of a BH as well, as long as it’s not in your future light cone.[/QUOTE]
    C’s choice of coordinates and simultaneity calculation is irrelevant because the only thing that matters in my argument is [I]causality[/I]. No valid choice of coordinates can change causal ordering.

  3. jambaugh says:

    [QUOTE=”Martin0001, post: 5333147, member: 581355″]Unquestioned belief in existence of BH displayed by many here is breath taking.

    What we can say is that some ultradense objects which do not appear to possess a surface are detected.
    Of course there might be a very red shifted surface indeed and such an object would not be a BH.
    There are few credible alternatives indeed….[/quote]

    Your remaining post not withstanding, here’s my position. There are 2 questions:
    i. [I]Is GR right or mostly right? (e.g. to the extent that its prediction of BH’s requires they exist in galactic centers given the amount of mass there.)[/i]
    and
    ii. [I]Do Black Holes Exist? (as a more general question than above.)[/i]

    The first question we can consider by doing other experiments and so in so far as GR has been confirmed by evidence, there you go.
    Since the original concept of a BH was as a prediction of GR to answer the second question which I take to be the OP’s question, I would argue that [i]”some ultradense objects which do not appear to possess a surface”[/i] comes mighty close to an “if it quacks like a duck” definition of a BH. However as this doesn’t quite address this begged question I’ve pointed out then we really should answer that one, first…

    [b][i] If we wish to generalize the idea to theories distinct from Einstein’s GR, what do we mean by a “Black Hole”?[/i][/b]

    Keep in mind also that when we speak of curved space-time this is a MODEL for GR and other such theories of gravity, not the theory itself. So do not try to describe a BH in terms of the geometry of invisible space-time but rather in terms of what is or can be observed. (e.g. one cannot communicate observations across an event horizon.)

    But Martin, my belief in BH’s is not “unquestioned” any more than is my belief in quarks or the Higgs particle or even the photon itself. All my beliefs are tentative subject to change with new data. Now if you want to speak of unquestioned beliefs we could open a discussion on Anthropogenic Global Warming! ;)

  4. maline says:

    [QUOTE=”rjbeery, post: 5335729, member: 171140″]Events A and B could be said to co-exist if observer C claimed they were simultaneous[/QUOTE]
    The idea that an observer “claims” that two events are simultaneous- meaning that there is a well-defined inertial frame centered on that observer- is true in SR & [B]locally[/B] in GR but not in situations involving large distances & gravity. Any coordinate map you define on spacetime has some objects with coordinate acceleration that does not come from any force. So to ask whether a spacelike separated object “exists now” is really and truly meaningless- if you like, and work at it long enough, you can draw up a map that will label your point of interest with the same time coordinate as your present. It will be just as valid as any other map, so long as you work out all the Christoffel symbols etcetera whenever you want to predict anything. As far as I know you can do this for the interior of a BH as well, as long as it’s not in your future light cone.

  5. rjbeery says:

    [QUOTE=”Jonathan Scott, post: 5335876, member: 54889″]I think that philosophical discussion about the meaning of “exists” is outside the scope of these forums.[/QUOTE]
    Outside the scope of a thread entitled “Do Black Holes Really Exist”?

  6. Martin0001 says:

    [QUOTE=”rjbeery, post: 5335729, member: 171140″]When discussing whether or not black holes exist there are three options that I see:

    1) Define “exists” and “black holes” to [I]exclude [/I]them from existence
    2) Reject the word “exists” completely as an unscientific term
    3) Define “exists” and “black holes” to [I]include[/I] them in existence

    The definition for black holes in the Insight article is given as a region of spacetime that is not in the causal past of future null infinity, and that’s the one I’ll use here.

    Regarding #1, we could try to define “exists” in terms of simultaneity. There are obvious ambiguities in doing this, but it’s a start. Events A and B could be said to co-exist if observer C claimed they were simultaneous; we could then say that A exists with B [I]for [/I]C…but that’s all. Co-existence is relative to an observer; however, this does give us a chance to put bounds on co-existence. If two events A and B are lightlike or timelike separated then there is no observer C who could make the claim that they are in co-existence. Using these definitions, no events A at or within a hypothetical event horizon co-exist with events B outside of the event horizon because there is no observer C who can make the claim that they are simultaneous.

    Regarding #2, ambiguity suggests that perhaps “exists” should not enter a scientific discussion. I disagree with this. By the same logic we should not discuss velocity in a scientific context due to its relative nature. In any event, if we choose to reject “existence” completely then we [B]certainly[/B] can’t also make the claim that black holes exist.

    That leaves us with #3. As external observers to any theoretical black hole, we could make the claim that the black hole exists due to the thought experiment of simply imagining observer B travelling to the region of a suspected black hole A and “falling in”. The black hole exists for B because he can cross the event horizon A in finite proper time, right? The math is clear on this, but there is baggage with the view that this constitutes existence; namely, it requires a block universe in which timelike separated events are considered to co-exist. There is simply no external observer C who can make the claim that A and B co-exist [I]until[/I] B reaches A…and that never happens for C, D, E or any other external observers. If we simply declare that A and B co-exist by fiat, or by definition, then we must also accept that Julius Caesar and Christmas Day of 2100 co-exist. This is a consequence that I doubt most people would accept.[/QUOTE]
    All fine, but why to make issue complicated, if one can keep it simple?
    Let’s define a BH as a compact object, detectable only by its immense gravity which does not have a hard surface up to the area where EH should be present.
    Such object should only give away to our investigation few details like mass, angular momentum and electric charge but only information about mass is easy to access.
    Forget what is inside, so for example object with mathematical singularity as well as one with hard surface of compact star just below EH are both BH.

    Now let’s get more observations and find out if existing candidates meet these objections.
    So for example if we are finding that candidates are showing magnetic fields which cannot be explained by accretion discs we must consider them not to be BH.
    There are several classes of such objects, which might pretend to be BH but they are not.
    So let’s exclude some objects like compact stars made of degenerate matter of any sort, then exclude MECO, then exclude “fuzzballs”, gravastars etc.
    Once these are excluded let’s assume that we have “proven” BH to exist, but *if* we have proven that object is MECO, fuzzball, gravastar or something alike, let’s assume that BH do not exist.

    Let’s hope that current efforts to produce images of Sag. A by arrays of radiotelescopes will deliver some more information in this respect.

  7. Jonathan Scott says:

    I think that philosophical discussion about the meaning of “exists” is outside the scope of these forums.

    The scientific position as I understand it is that standard GR accurately predicts observations relating to weak gravitational fields and also predicts that extremely dense objects will collapse gravitationally into what we describe as a black hole, which has some rather bewildering and awkward properties. There are modified versions of GR and other gravitational theories which do not predict such collapse, although they are typically far more complex and contrived than GR and hence are less satisfactory, by Occam’s razor. We therefore eagerly await experimental confirmation or refutation of whether objects predicted by GR to be black holes actually have the predicted properties.

    (Although I accept GR as the best theory we have so far, I personally have a strong suspicion that Einstein’s Field Equations might effectively be only a weak field approximation. It would certain stir things up a bit if someone could spot an object soon that GR says should be a black hole but which clearly isn’t, such as a pulsar around 30 solar masses!).

  8. rjbeery says:

    When discussing whether or not black holes exist there are three options that I see:

    1) Define “exists” and “black holes” to [I]exclude [/I]them from existence
    2) Reject the word “exists” completely as an unscientific term
    3) Define “exists” and “black holes” to [I]include[/I] them in existence

    The definition for black holes in the Insight article is given as a region of spacetime that is not in the causal past of future null infinity, and that’s the one I’ll use here.

    Regarding #1, we could try to define “exists” in terms of simultaneity. There are obvious ambiguities in doing this, but it’s a start. Events A and B could be said to co-exist if observer C claimed they were simultaneous; we could then say that A exists with B [I]for [/I]C…but that’s all. Co-existence is relative to an observer; however, this does give us a chance to put bounds on co-existence. If two events A and B are lightlike or timelike separated then there is no observer C who could make the claim that they are in co-existence. Using these definitions, no events A at or within a hypothetical event horizon co-exist with events B outside of the event horizon because there is no observer C who can make the claim that they are simultaneous.

    Regarding #2, ambiguity suggests that perhaps “exists” should not enter a scientific discussion. I disagree with this. By the same logic we should not discuss velocity in a scientific context due to its relative nature. In any event, if we choose to reject “existence” completely then we [B]certainly[/B] can’t also make the claim that black holes exist.

    That leaves us with #3. As external observers to any theoretical black hole, we could make the claim that the black hole exists due to the thought experiment of simply imagining observer B travelling to the region of a suspected black hole A and “falling in”. The black hole exists for B because he can cross the event horizon A in finite proper time, right? The math is clear on this, but there is baggage with the view that this constitutes existence; namely, it requires a block universe in which timelike separated events are considered to co-exist. There is simply no external observer C who can make the claim that A and B co-exist [I]until[/I] B reaches A…and that never happens for C, D, E or any other external observers. If we simply declare that A and B co-exist by fiat, or by definition, then we must also accept that Julius Caesar and Christmas Day of 2100 co-exist. This is a consequence that I doubt most people would accept.

  9. Jonathan Scott says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5334940, member: 227992″]Question: Suppose you disintegrated 10 neutrons, resulting in quark matter and energy, then half the energy was lost, and you recombined what was left. Would you have about 5 neutrons?[/QUOTE]
    The energy is what is keeping the quarks apart (and they cannot be completely isolated). There could also be extra quark / anti-quark pairs produced from interactions involving the excess energy. If you removed enough energy for the quarks to recombine, they would combine back into 10 neutrons or the equivalent in protons (plus leptons). They could in theory initially combine back into heavier particles, for example including strange or charm quarks, but the final result could not be less than 10 protons in rest mass because of baryon number conservation.

    (From Special Relativity, if you have a system containing lots of internal kinetic energy but the overall momentum is small, the kinetic energy effectively counts towards the rest mass of the overall system).

  10. Martin0001 says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5334940, member: 227992″]From the Wiki article on protons: “it is now known to be composed of three valence quarks: two [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_quark’]up quarks[/URL] and one [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_quark’]down quark[/URL]. The [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rest_mass’]rest masses[/URL] of the quarks contribute only about 1% of the proton’s mass, however.[URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton#cite_note-Mass-2′][2][/URL] The remainder of the proton mass is due to the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy’]kinetic energy[/URL] of the quarks and to the energy of the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluon’]gluon[/URL] fields that bind the quarks together.”

    It says the quark mass contribution is only 1%(! ) and the rest is energy. Sure sounds like ultra-relativistic stuff to me. Question: Suppose you disintegrated 10 neutrons, resulting in quark matter and energy, then half the energy was lost, and you recombined what was left. Would you have about 5 neutrons?[/QUOTE]
    Quarks formed this way will also form a sort of *degenerate matter*, very much like initial neutrons did but a denser one
    Gross of energy will be retained in the system and pressure of degeneracy of degenerate quark matter will take care of it.

  11. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”rootone, post: 5334856, member: 507373″]A neutron consists of three quarks bound by gluons, so in principle that is what a disintegrated neutron should turn into.[/QUOTE]

    From the Wiki article on protons: “it is now known to be composed of three valence quarks: two [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_quark’]up quarks[/URL] and one [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_quark’]down quark[/URL]. The [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rest_mass’]rest masses[/URL] of the quarks contribute only about 1% of the proton’s mass, however.[URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton#cite_note-Mass-2′][2][/URL] The remainder of the proton mass is due to the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy’]kinetic energy[/URL] of the quarks and to the energy of the [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluon’]gluon[/URL] fields that bind the quarks together.”

    It says the quark mass contribution is only 1%(! ) and the rest is energy. Sure sounds like ultra-relativistic stuff to me. Question: Suppose you disintegrated 10 neutrons, resulting in quark matter and energy, then half the energy was lost, and you recombined what was left. Would you have about 5 neutrons?

  12. rjbeery says:

    Excellent article PeterDonis! Personally, my objection doesn’t lay in the math of GR, but in our definition of “existence”. In the past when I’ve pressed on this point the typical response is that the discussion has turned semantic and philosophical. I disagree. I believe the entire subject rests on what we mean, precisely, when we say that something [I]exists*[/I]. The definition of this word is where the discussion should be taking place if we want to discuss the subject at all.

    *such as a definition of “exists” which applies to a region of spacetime that is not in the causal past of future null infinity

  13. Jonathan Scott says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5334842, member: 227992″]What happens to the neutrons which collapse? Do they disappear? Just saying its loosely described as neutron collapse says little. What happens to the mass-energy of the neutrons which collapse?[/QUOTE]
    As far as I know, there is very little evidence as to what might happen in this case, but I think the general opinion is that neutrons might collapse into their components, i.e. quarks and gluons, in which case the total mass-energy would remain unchanged, but the density could be somewhat higher. If the pressure was removed, the quarks and gluons would form the original number of neutrons (or protons and electrons) again. If the density is able to increase significantly relative to a neutron star, this would directly trigger collapse to a black hole anyway, otherwise it may be possible to add a bit more mass before that happens.

  14. rootone says:

    A neutron consists of three quarks bound by gluons, so in principle that is what a disintegrated neutron should turn into.
    Whether or not that condition of free quarks and gluons can remain stable is (I think) unknown.
    Matter in this state has been hypothesised though for two cases.
    Firstly there *may be* a stable condition of this sort when a neutron star collapses instead of collapse directly to a black hole, (hypothetical quark star)
    Quark-gluon plasma is also hypothesised as being a possible state of the Universe very shortly after the big bang.

  15. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”Jonathan Scott, post: 5334683, member: 54889″]It is theoretically expected that there will be a maximum possible mass for a neutron star between 1.4 and 3 solar masses, after which the neutron star will collapse to some other state (starting from the core with what could indeed be described loosely as “neutron collapse”.[/QUOTE]

    What happens to the neutrons which collapse? Do they disappear? Just saying its loosely described as neutron collapse says little. What happens to the mass-energy of the neutrons which collapse?

  16. Jonathan Scott says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5334664, member: 227992″]Then when the neutrons at the core collapse, what happens to them? What would be the “other state”? Recent high energy collider experiments indicate that when a nucleus collapses the mass is converted roughly 10+% quark type matter and roughly 90% energy. I think the same would probably happen when some core neutrons collapse. If the resulting quark matter and energy quickly exit the star by some process, pressure is then relieved and core collapse should stop.[/QUOTE]
    Please do not continue to promote this extremely speculative idea which has already been the subject of another thread. I have already pointed out that if you wish to discuss it further, you first need find appropriate references then start a new thread. (In that thread I already pointed out that no additional kinetic energy can be found without violating baryon number conservation, and your hand-waving assertion that such relativistic material could find its way from the core to the surface at such a speed as to escape the gravitational field seems totally fanciful).

  17. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”Jonathan Scott, post: 5334632, member: 54889″]It is theoretically expected that there will be a maximum possible mass for a neutron star between 1.4 and 3 solar masses, after which the neutron star will collapse to some other state (starting from the core with what could indeed be described loosely as “neutron collapse”.[/QUOTE]

    Then when the neutrons at the core collapse, what happens to them? What would be the “other state”? Recent high energy collider experiments indicate that when a nucleus collapses the mass is converted roughly 10+% quark type matter and roughly 90% energy. I think the same would probably happen when some core neutrons collapse. If the resulting quark matter and energy quickly exit the star by some process, pressure is then relieved and core collapse should stop.

  18. Jonathan Scott says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5334582, member: 227992″]You’re saying this in a way which suggests that you think some mechanism prevents an existing neutron star from becoming any larger.”: YES!
    “I’m not aware of any evidence for this.”: The maximum observed mass of neutron stars is thought to be about 2 M☉.[/QUOTE]
    You seem to have missed the point. It is theoretically expected that there will be a maximum possible mass for a neutron star between 1.4 and 3 solar masses, after which the neutron star will collapse to some other state (starting from the core with what could indeed be described loosely as “neutron collapse”). If the initial state is not a black hole, it is expected that only a relatively small further increase in mass would be enough to create a black hole. Regardless of whether the new state is a something like a quark star or a black hole, it could appear very similar to the original neutron star, as the appearance is normally dominated by radiation from the accretion disk.
    One difference is that if an object is clearly a pulsar, this is thought to distinguish it from a black hole, as it is not generally thought that a black hole can emit similar pulsed radiation. However, not all neutron stars show pulsar characteristics (although that is normally the easiest way of identifying them), possibly due to viewing them at the wrong angle. (It is of course also theoretically possible that there might be some unknown physics which causes pulsars to switch off above a certain mass, but that doesn’t seem relevant here).
    Another difference is that neutron stars can produce sudden X-ray bursts which are thought to be from helium fusion in chain reaction. However, the absence of such bursts does not prove that an object is not still a neutron star, especially if it is possible, as I’ve queried in the other thread, that a sufficiently massive neutron star could cause much of the infalling hydrogen to undergo immediate fusion beyond helium and hence suppress that particular type of X-ray bursts. If this were the case, it would be possible that objects somewhat greater than 2 solar masses could still be neutron stars even though they did not show X-ray bursts, making it more difficult to establish a threshold for black hole formation.

  19. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”Jonathan Scott, post: 5334497, member: 54889″]You’re saying this in a way which suggests that you think some mechanism prevents an existing neutron star from becoming any larger. I’m not aware of any evidence for this. What is thought to happen is that there is a threshold mass at which a neutron star will collapse to become a black hole, and there may be intermediate phases at which a neutron star might be transformed to a more dense hypothetical object such as a “quark star”.
    Also, neutron stars are currently primarily distinguished from any more compact form by X-ray bursts which are thought to be from fusion of accumulated helium (produced by hydrogen immediately fusing to helium when it falls to the surface). I’ve just started another thread to ask about whether a neutron star might be able to become sufficiently massive that falling hydrogen might have enough energy for much of it to fuse beyond helium immediately, in which case there will be no accumulation of helium to cause an X-ray flash, making it more difficult to distinguish it from a black hole. Here’s the thread: [URL]https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/x-ray-bursts-might-not-happen-for-larger-neutron-stars.850627/[/URL][/QUOTE]

    “You’re saying this in a way which suggests that you think some mechanism prevents an existing neutron star from becoming any larger.”: YES!

    “I’m not aware of any evidence for this.”: The maximum observed mass of neutron stars is thought to be about 2 M☉.

    “What is thought to happen is that there is a threshold mass at which a neutron star will collapse to become a black hole”: If this is so where does the collapse start? At the core (neutron collapse!)? Or at the surface?

    “A neutron star might be able to become sufficiently massive that falling hydrogen might have enough energy for much of it to fuse beyond helium immediately.”: I’m digesting your new thread and prefer to wait for other comments. Its an interesting idea. If hydrogen can do it maybe helium could do it. You are suggesting the smaller mass “black holes” might be compact stars? Expect a lot of flak!

  20. Jonathan Scott says:

    [QUOTE=”Martin0001, post: 5334490, member: 581355″]Something called “electroweak star” is proposed where neutrons/quarks would be burned to leptons in small core of otherwise “normal” neutron star.
    [URL]http://arxiv.org/abs/0912.0520[/URL][/QUOTE]
    I note that this suggestion violates baryon and lepton number, which contradicts all experimental evidence to date. (But so do black holes).

  21. Jonathan Scott says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5333853, member: 227992″]There might be a clue from the probable fact that neutron star mass is limited by some process to 2 solar masses.[/QUOTE]
    You’re saying this in a way which suggests that you think some mechanism prevents an existing neutron star from becoming any larger. I’m not aware of any evidence for this. What is thought to happen is that there is a threshold mass at which a neutron star will collapse to become a black hole, and there may be intermediate phases at which a neutron star might be transformed to a more dense hypothetical object such as a “quark star”.
    Also, neutron stars are currently primarily distinguished from any more compact form by X-ray bursts which are thought to be from fusion of accumulated helium (produced by hydrogen immediately fusing to helium when it falls to the surface). I’ve just started another thread to ask about whether a neutron star might be able to become sufficiently massive that falling hydrogen might have enough energy for much of it to fuse beyond helium immediately, in which case there will be no accumulation of helium to cause an X-ray flash, making it more difficult to distinguish it from a black hole. Here’s the thread: [URL]https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/x-ray-bursts-might-not-happen-for-larger-neutron-stars.850627/[/URL]

  22. Martin0001 says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5333853, member: 227992″]Questioning conventional theory is a good thing but as was said above its pretty much a fact that there are small-size large-mass objects that are not visible. The GR description of a black hole is a logical explanation although we don’t have to accept it as gospel. An object that gravitationally contains light could be predicted without GR or curved space. A compact star with a light absorbing surface could also appear as a black hole. And there are other theories mentioned above.

    There might be a clue from the probable fact that neutron star mass is limited by some process to 2 solar masses. Logically this process must occur within the star. Jets forming outside the star that limit the stars mass by preventing all material from falling to the star seem illogical. In older neutron stars large amounts of mass-energy could be shed by super extreme surface temperature, but this is not observed. Nuclear surface explosions are not an explanation. The alternative is the direct ejection of ultra-relativistic matter from the star. (Matter with a velocity of only 0.1c can’t escape the star). Ultra-relativistic matter is a logical result of the collapse of neutrons in the core, and this would explain the jets from neutron stars, not so interesting except this would probably have implications for the 5 – 10 solar mass “black holes” with jets. It seems that many people have a mental block to considering the possibility of neutron collapse at the core of a neutron star. It would be good to hear any suggestions for a process that limits the mass of neutron stars.[/QUOTE]
    Something called “electroweak star” is proposed where neutrons/quarks would be burned to leptons in small core of otherwise “normal” neutron star.
    [URL]http://arxiv.org/abs/0912.0520[/URL]

  23. Bernie G says:

    Questioning conventional theory is a good thing but as was said above its pretty much a fact that there are small-size large-mass objects that are not visible. The GR description of a black hole is a logical explanation although we don’t have to accept it as gospel. An object that gravitationally contains light could be predicted without GR or curved space. A compact star with a light absorbing surface could also appear as a black hole. And there are other theories mentioned above.

    There might be a clue from the probable fact that neutron star mass is limited by some process to 2 solar masses. Logically this process must occur within the star. Jets forming outside the star that limit the stars mass by preventing all material from falling to the star seem illogical. In older neutron stars large amounts of mass-energy could be shed by super extreme surface temperature, but this is not observed. Nuclear surface explosions are not an explanation. The alternative is the direct ejection of ultra-relativistic matter from the star. (Matter with a velocity of only 0.1c can’t escape the star). Ultra-relativistic matter is a logical result of the collapse of neutrons in the core, and this would explain the jets from neutron stars, not so interesting except this would probably have implications for the 5 – 10 solar mass “black holes” with jets. It seems that many people have a mental block to considering the possibility of neutron collapse at the core of a neutron star. It would be good to hear any suggestions for a process that limits the mass of neutron stars.

  24. |Glitch| says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5329297, member: 227992″]”[URL=’https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/black-holes-really-exist/’]Do Black Holes Really Exist?[/URL]”

    Probably, but could what we think are black holes be compact stars (larger than their Schwarzschild radius) if they had the following characteristics?: (1) They were a mixture of normal matter and ultra-relativistic matter. (2) They had a crust that was mostly a light absorber.[/QUOTE]
    I tend to agree. Mass appears to be the determining factor. A star with ≤ 4.8 M[SUB]☉[/SUB] will eventually form a degenerate white dwarf capable of resisting gravity’s effects. Whereas a star > 4.8 M[SUB]☉[/SUB] ≤ 10 M[SUB]☉[/SUB] will eventually form a neutron star capable of resisting gravity’s effects. It certainly seems plausible that ultra-relativistic matter, such as quarks or dileptons, in stars with a certain mass range (> 10 M[SUB]☉[/SUB]) could be capable of resisting gravity’s effects. The apparent effect, to an outside observer, would be identical to a black hole with a Schwarzschild radius event horizon and an apparent horizon. While being incredibly dense (possibly an order of magnitude more dense than a neutron star) it still would not be “infinitely” dense, as in a “singularity.”

  25. Martin0001 says:

    [QUOTE=”rootone, post: 5333249, member: 507373″]A black hole is a prediction of GR, but nobody has made any claims of knowing exactly what happens inside of the event horizon of a BH,
    and obviously whatever does go on cannot be observed directly.
    The fact that the simplest models end up with a mathematical singularity is a strong indication that some kind of presently unknown physics comes in to play.
    However which ever way one chooses to interpret it, ‘black hole candidates’ do exist, and in particular the evidence for the SMBH in our galaxy’s centre is overwhelming.
    There are beyond any doubt star systems which are rapidly orbiting an extremely massive yet small invisible object.
    Whatever object exists there it fulfils the GR description of a black hole, so until such time as there is contrary evidence we may as well call it a black hole.[/QUOTE]
    Actually you may read more about BH Firewall Paradox.
    It is hot topic in physics today.

    It implies that one of these 2 notions must be true:

    1. Firewall at the place where should be event horizon, that imply that certain assumptions of GR are rubbish.

    2. Information in the hole is lost, that imply that cornerstone of QM (unitarity) is rubbish

    This is a really substantial trouble, one which should ask us to consider possibility of existence other than BH, very red shifted and extremely compact objects there, but not necessarily one with no surface, event horizon like features.

  26. rootone says:

    A black hole is a prediction of GR, but nobody has made any claims of knowing exactly what happens inside of the event horizon of a BH,
    and obviously whatever does go on cannot be observed directly.
    The fact that the simplest models end up with a mathematical singularity is a strong indication that some kind of presently unknown physics comes in to play, as a mathematical singularity implying infinite density cannot be describing any conceivable physical object.
    However which ever way one chooses to interpret it, ‘black hole candidates’ do exist, and in particular the evidence for the SMBH in our galaxy’s centre is overwhelming.
    There are beyond any doubt star systems which are rapidly orbiting an extremely massive yet small invisible object.
    Whatever object exists there it fulfils the GR description of a black hole, so until such time as there is contrary evidence we may as well call it a black hole.

  27. Martin0001 says:

    Unquestioned belief in existence of BH displayed by many here is breath taking.

    What we can say is that some ultradense objects which do not appear to possess a surface are detected.
    Of course there might be a very red shifted surface indeed and such an object would not be a BH.
    There are few credible alternatives indeed.

    Ever heard about BH Firewall Paradox?
    [URL]https://www.quantamagazine.org/20121221-alice-and-bob-meet-the-wall-of-fire/[/URL]
    This paradox is indicating distinct possibility of existence some other peculiar objects, compacted stars of diameter of Schwartzchild radius but entirely different from BH in their workings.

    What about so called Magnetospheric Eternally Collapsing Objects.
    [URL]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetospheric_eternally_collapsing_object[/URL]

    What about objects which do form event horizon and yet hold large, surface possessing body instead singularity under said horizon?

    If proven, existence of any of these (and there are also many other possibilities) makes existence of BH very unlikely, if not impossible.

    The only argument which I hear for is:
    Very dense solution of GR with no detectable surface.
    Well, that is rather wishful thinking and unwarranted jumping to conclusion.

  28. jambaugh says:

    “Direct” vs “Indirect” observation may be problematic to define. “I don’t see the moon, I see photons that, if they behave as my theory predicts, imply the existence of the moon.” We extend our “selves” to our instruments, and our definition of what actually is “our instruments” to some pretty broad categories of phenomena. Always there is the possibility of an update to our models not just of the systems in question but of how our instruments behave and we may find that the “observed BH’s” upon update cease to exist. Likewise we might find upon updating theory that photons or say electrons, should no longer be considered to be “observed”. But until then I go with the current orthodox model.

    I assert that the current inference of Black holes in galactic centers is stronger than say the inference of the existence of quarks or of the recently “observed” Higgs boson.

  29. russ_watters says:

    [QUOTE=”_PJ_, post: 5328927, member: 196545″]No. By Direct Obsevration of a Black Hole, I mean, any measurement that detects the actual properties of a Black Hole directly, rather than an indirect inference from a measurement of some other property…[/quote]
    So do you accept that the gravitational field strength and size measurements are “direct” measurements? I can’t tell from what you are saying. What is the difference between/definition of “direct/indirect” measurements”? Rather than direct/indirect [B]measurements[/B], you now seem to be talking about some sort of indirect [B]properties[/B], and I’ve never heard of such a thing either.
    [quote] …which (ALTHOUGH HIGHLY UNLIKELY) may still be yet shown to be due to some other process.
    [/QUOTE]
    That’s a different issue than whether the measurements are “direct”. In science, theories predict properties and if properties are detected that match the theory and no other viable theories exist, then the theory is validated. Your line of logic sounds more like wishing another explanation will be found than accepting the scientific process that already found a viable explanation.
    [quote]Infalling Matter tells us the gravitational power accelerating objects, there is no observation of to-what this matter is falling into.* [/quote]
    Gravitational acceleration is caused by mass. Mass is a property of objects. So that’s an observation of the property of mass of the object it is falling into.
    [quote] I maintain that it’s simply not enough to warrant any claim of confirming the definite, undeniable such a phenomena as a Black Hole.[/quote]
    That’s just the vanilla “you can’t prove anything absolutely” fundamental reality of science. It’s true of anything in science and nobody would ever claim black holes or anything else were 100% proven.

  30. Bernie G says:

    “[URL=’https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/black-holes-really-exist/’]Do Black Holes Really Exist?[/URL]”

    The suggestion of a stable compact star consisting of normal matter and ultra-relativistic matter is probably a bad idea.

    Suggestion (2): Could a compact star of 5 solar masses exist if its radius was 20 or 25 km? Would it have to collapse? Could we distinguish it from a black hole?

  31. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”_PJ_, post: 5329457, member: 196545″]It will have a constantly changing velocity anyway, if it’s “falling”.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, but would its acceleration be affected by the Lorenz transformations?

  32. _PJ_ says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5329205, member: 227992″]Sure, a particle falling straight down towards a black hole will have Lorenz transformations, but do the Lorenz transformations at any point affect the velocity it will have?[/QUOTE]
    It will have a constantly changing velocity anyway, if it’s “falling”.

  33. Bernie G says:

    “[URL=’https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/black-holes-really-exist/’]Do Black Holes Really Exist?[/URL]”

    Probably, but could what we think are black holes be compact stars (larger than their Schwarzschild radius) if they had the following characteristics?: (1) They were a mixture of normal matter and ultra-relativistic matter. (2) They had a crust that was mostly a light absorber.

  34. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”_PJ_, post: 5329147, member: 196545″]In your given equations, when dealing with relativistic speeds, one must factor in the Lorenz transformations, which you seem to be missing.[/QUOTE]

    Sure, a particle falling straight down towards a black hole will have Lorenz transformations, but do the Lorenz transformations at any point affect the velocity it will have?

  35. _PJ_ says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5329125, member: 227992″]Why can’t we simply say that light bends around an object??[/QUOTE]
    Because Light must travel in straight lines. If light was “bent” or curved, it would necessitate a change in velocity which necessarily entails a temporal metric which implies that light is not relativistic and violates both of Einstein’s theories in one go.

    In your given equations, when dealing with relativistic speeds, one must factor in the Lorenz transformations, which you seem to be missing.

  36. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”_PJ_, post: 5329105, member: 196545″]Light always travels in straight lines……. in some ways, yes, curved space is necessarily part of the actual definition of what a Black Hole is …. [/QUOTE]

    Is the escape velocity from any large object (even a neutron star or black hole) described exactly by the formula v^2 = 2GM/r ? If the Schwarzschild radius (called SR) is defined as the radius where the escape velocity equals the speed of light, can we then simply say that SR = 2GM/(c^2)? The concept of an object with a mass/radius ratio large enough to contain light doesn’t require curved space along with the concept of light always traveling in straight lines. Why can’t we simply say that light bends around an object? If a neutral object from far away drops straight into a basic non-spinning and non-magnetic black hole, is its relative velocity c when it reaches the event horizon?

  37. _PJ_ says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5329057, member: 227992″]Is the concept of curved space required to predict black holes?[/QUOTE]
    Light always travels in straight lines. In curved spacetime, this straight path is seen to be curved.
    So although the basic idea of a highly dense, collapsed star (such as Laplace’s Dark Star) were put forth even in 18th century, they were based on inaccurate understanding of light.

    Part of the definition for a Black Hole is that the gravitational strength is such that the escape velocity at a particular altitude up the gravitational potential well is faster than the speed of light. This causes light to follow a trajectory that appears as curving towards and ultimately into the Black Hole.

    So in some ways, yes, curved space is necessarily part of the actual definition of what a Black Hole is, but the idea of Black Holes in essence existed in a classical form (although not entirely accurate)

  38. _PJ_ says:

    No. By Direct Obsevration of a Black Hole, I mean, any measurement that detects the actual properties of a Black Hole directly, rather than an indirect inference from a measurement of some other property which (ALTHOUGH HIGHLY UNLIKELY) may still be yet shown to be due to some other process.

    Infalling Matter tells us the gravitational power accelerating objects, there is no observation of to-what this matter is falling into.*

    Now the concensus is overwhelmingly in favour of, and, again as I mentioned, seems to largely reject any reasonable alternative possibilities given the mass/energy densities involved, that it can only really be a Black Hole. HOWEVER, and I am making an extreme exaggeration for the sake of the point, consider that some alien civilisation created super powerful energy rays which, when focussed onto a single concentrated point result in an extreme gravitational event.
    This event would also exist in a small space, with a high gravitational force, for all intents and purposes of the ‘indirect mweasurements’, would still accrete infalling matter and accelerate it to relativistic speeds. The nature of the energy rays may still exhibit a powerful magnetic field and emit jets of high energy charge. This phenomena would still pull nearby stars into extremely tight, fast orbits around a space in which no stable stellar object could exist and none are visible. In effect, you have an entity which ticks all the boxes for a Black Hole, but is not one.

    I personally am absolutely in agreement that Black Holes exist, and do not doubt that the measurements made as described are indirectly evidencing this – however, I maintain that it’s simply not enough to warrant any claim of confirming the definite, undeniable such a phenomena as a Black Hole.

  39. russ_watters says:

    [QUOTE=”_PJ_, post: 5328719, member: 196545″]I disagree. I am still unaware of any DIRECT OBSERVATION of Black Holes…[/QUOTE]
    My suspicion is that you are using a definition of “direct observation” here that it far more limited than you would use in other situations (just seeing with your eyes?). Because there are several direct observations of properties of black holes. Gravitational field strength is measured by timing orbits. Size is measured by observing radiation from infalling matter.
    [URL]https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/seuforum/bh_reallyexist.htm[/URL]

  40. Bernie G says:

    [QUOTE=”QuantumQuest, post: 5328821, member: 554291″]In my opinion, this sounds like some people beginning with Albert Einstein, just wanted to make things look complex, which can in no way be true.[/QUOTE]

    Of course Einstein didn’t want to just make things look complex. In a Newtonian sense the acceleration of a small falling object shouldn’t be affected even by a relativistic increase in its effective mass-energy. Absent other forces, can the impact velocity on any far object (even a neutron star) be given exactly by the formula v^2 = 2GM/r ?

  41. QuantumQuest says:

    [QUOTE=”Bernie G, post: 5328757, member: 227992″]Do we need complex ideas like GR or curved space to predict black holes?[/QUOTE]

    In my opinion, this sounds like some people beginning with Albert Einstein, just wanted to make things look complex, which can in no way be true. [I]Real[/I] Nature and Universe are [I]indeed [/I]complex, regarding their mathematical description. Of course Newton’s theories were great achievements for their time, but it’s like describing an object as you see its surface, having no idea what hides inside or where it comes from. Again, this in no way relegates the great work of Newton, who after all, had nothing more than a few of previous theories and very few observations – or what did that mean back then. But Einstein went a great way further with GR and finally found very innovative ways to express his ideas. I don’t think that any mathematically rigorous prediction, can exist outside some rigorous treatment and I definitely agree that what we have so far in this regard, is GR. I think that black holes exist, but I also think that quantum world has a lot to reveal in the future.

  42. Bernie G says:

    “For the moment, GR is the best theory of gravity that we have and it predicts black holes”

    Do we need complex ideas like GR or curved space to predict black holes? A body that falls under the force of gravitational attraction of mass [I]M[/I] from infinity, starting with zero velocity, will strike the mass with a velocity equal to its escape velocity. Is the escape velocity or impact velocity v of a falling body on any object (even a neutron star) given exactly by the newtonian formula v^2 = 2GM/r ? Note this equation gives the Schwarzschild radius when v = c.

  43. CalcNerd says:

    I am on the side that is convinced by the available information that Black Holes exist. However, everyone has a different level of proof needed to be convinced. And I am NOT a professional physicist or astronomer. Using Occam’s razor, I believe that Black Holes in the Galactic cores is the simplest explanation for what we observe. However, dark matter and other anomalies may lead to a more complex model that may not rely upon or allow something else to explain away the Black hole formation. A Black Hole seems to be the simplest and most reasonable explanation at this time, so I am convinced.

    We can all see Jupiter through a modest telescope, but have ANY of us actually been there? Similar level of proof. We see activity and effects of a super massive object at the center of our Galaxy. We don’t see any object, just lots of starts racing around a darkened core. It agrees with our mathematical model of a billion solar mass object. It doesn’t radiate any perceivable light (of course we are tens of thousands of light years away, so we can’t see low levels of radiation if they were there). Hence we now assume we have a black hole (candidate for the more severe doubting Thomas’s).

  44. _PJ_ says:

    I disagree. I am still unaware of any DIRECT OBSERVATION of Black Holes – not saying anyone above is wrong just that I’m not aware of such.

    Indirectly, though, the evidence for Black Holes is overwhelming. The output from what used to be called ‘Quasars’ and ‘Active Galactic Nuclei’ is readily explained by current models of the energies from electromagnetic fields and the friction of the accretion material due to the incredible power of the BH frame dragging and its radial speed.
    Even more recent measurements of lower frequencies to penetrate the amassed dust and obscuring clouds at the heart of the Milky Way, and the measured orbital paths (size, parabolicity and speeds) of the stellar objects around the “Great Attractor” Sag A* not only fit with the model with a supermassive Black Hole at the gravitational centre, but also, there is no known, nor generally accepted reasonable alternative possibility for something so massive, yet so spatially compact to produce such results.
    It’s a logical deduction that the most obvious, reasonable and plausible cause is that there MUST be a Black Hole.

    I, too, would find it extremely unlikely that this is not the case, yet as a matter of direct, irrefutable proof and direct measurements confirming an actual Black Hole, there are none.
    _____________

    I also would consider Cauchy surface horizons and the effective surfaces of light cones in spacetime as being Absolute Horizons, which INCLUDE Event Horizons, but the nature of a Black Hole EVENT HORIZON is more than simply a ‘one way street’, the reason for the name “Event” Horizon refers to the extreme nature of the Black Hole in warping spacetime so that no more events are applied to a causal timeline that crosses the boundary.

    [QUOTE=”jambaugh, post: 5328125, member: 76054″]Yes. They really do… They are observed in galactic centers.

    I find people get most confused by the characterization of event horizons, as if the proverbial event horizon of a black hole is some unique new physical entity. We pass through event horizons constantly. space-like hyper-surface is an event horizon, [/QUOTE]

  45. benww says:

    With so many theories Available today We cannot even prove that we Exist. If we can assume that we existThen it is every bit as possible to assume that black holes exist as well. It is even more possible to assume that black holes existGiven the immense amount of data Collected on And mathematics Referring to Black holes. There is yet to date A mathematical proof For the existence of consciousness.

  46. Jonathan Scott says:

    What is observed in galactic centers is dense supermassive objects, which can be described as “black hole candidates”.
    If General Relativity is still accurate in such extreme situations, such objects are theoretically predicted to be black holes. GR has been confirmed to give very accurate predictions for the solar system and for example for loss of energy of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar system through gravitational waves. However, the most sensitive test these observations have checked so far only confirms GR to one “Post-Newtonian” correction term – the ##beta## parameter in the Parameterized Post-Newtonian (PPN) model, which can be measured through the perihelion precession of Mercury and Lunar Laser Ranging. For black holes to occur, GR has to be accurate to further terms which have not yet been confirmed.
    Clearly, GR is a neat and self-consistent theory and it is generally expected that black holes will eventually be confirmed, which is why there is no problem with calling these objects “black hole candidates”. However, in the mean time, there are various observations which do not fit so well with GR, such as an apparent strong magnetic field in the vicinity of the core of a quasar (where a black hole was not expected to be able to sustain such a field) and the way in which GR apparently needs to be supplemented by mysterious dark matter to explain galactic rotation curves. It is also quite tricky to tell the difference between a hypothetical extremely red-shifted object which is not a black hole (if GR has some sort of limit that prevents black holes) and an actual black hole.
    For the moment, GR is the best theory of gravity that we have and it predicts black holes, but at present that is a theoretical prediction, not an experimentally confirmed one.

  47. jambaugh says:

    Yes. They really do… They are observed in galactic centers.

    I find people get most confused by the characterization of event horizons, as if the proverbial event horizon of a black hole is some unique new physical entity. We pass through event horizons constantly. space-like hyper-surface is an event horizon, the future, and past light cones of any space-time event are examples of an event horizon, i.e. a boundary across which causal signals and matter can only travel one way. Event horizons don’t need some extreme circumstance to be formed. The issue is whether gravitation can curve space-time so that we can draw an event horizon into a shape we describe as a black hole. GR says yes. Astronomical observations show something in the center of most galaxies that seems to confirm this theoretical prediction so… Yea, you betcha!

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