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Black holes

  1. Jul 7, 2009 #1
    How compressed are the atoms black holes are made of? Is there a limit to how much you can compress matter?
    It seems to me, the most you can compress matter would be until the individual subatomic particles are side by side touching each other.
    Are black holes compressed more than that? Are they compressed so tight that the subatomic particles are squeezed into a smaller state than they exist naturally?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2009 #2


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    We don't know. A lot.
    We don't know.
    That would be a neutron star. Electrons and protons are mashed together to form neutrons, neutrons are packed elbow to elbow.
  4. Jul 7, 2009 #3
    Yeah that's what I thought. I guess the neutrons must be compressed smaller by causing the particles that make up a neutron to move closer together?
  5. Jul 7, 2009 #4


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    Just to expand on DaveC426913's "don't knows", General Relativity says that a black hole compresses to a single point of infinite density. Quantum Theory says that's impossible. So until someone finds a theory that supersedes both General Relativity and Quantum Theory, we really don't know.
  6. Jul 7, 2009 #5
    Black holes appear to be bigger than that. What is the visible part of the black hole, other than the singularity?
  7. Jul 7, 2009 #6


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    Yes, I was referring specifically to the singularity at the centre of a black hole (which is where all its mass is). The surface around the singularity through which nothing can escape outwards is called the event horizon. (It has no physical substance but is just a location in space.) Strictly speaking, it isn't "visible" because it's black!
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