Black hole photon emission

  • #1
125
1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi,

I've been reading through Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time' and I have reached a section about how, contrary to popular belief, Black Hole's are not necessarily black since they emit photons outside the event horizon.

I am wondering how they emit photons. Does it have to do with particle and antiparticle annihilation?

Thanks,
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
773
0
Does it have to do with particle and antiparticle annihilation?
Sort of. The usual explanation of 'hawking radiation' (as it is called) makes use of particle/anti-particle annihilation in the context of the quantum foam near the event horizon of the black hole, this is detailed pretty well on the wikipedia page on black holes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation

I've heard however that the actual process is much more complicated, but as of yet there isn't a better way to non-mathematically describe it.

Edit: I actually just read through the math on the wiki page for the first time and it does a pretty decent job.
 
Last edited:
  • #3
tom.stoer
Science Advisor
5,766
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It makes sense to have a look at Hawking's paper which can be found on the internet. Hawking is talking about particle-antiparticle pairs but (the math of) the process is more bizarre than that. There are no particle-antiparticle pairs and no tunneling through the event horizon or something like that. Nothing haoppens "at the horizon"; you will not see anything special there
 

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