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Do Schwarzschild Black Holes exist?

  1. Apr 24, 2013 #1
    The title says it all. Do static black holes really exist, or do the ones we know about seem to be spinning?

    ISTM unlikely that there could be any non-rotating black holes, but I don't really know, hence the question. Do we have the means to determine with any certainty what the answer is?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2013 #2


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    Hi EskWIRED! :smile:

    A non-rotating black hole is extremely unlikely …

    even if one existed, it would only take one photon to hit the event horizon off-centre to give it angular momentum, ie start it rotating. :wink:
  4. Apr 24, 2013 #3
    I never thought about it in quite so dramatic a manner as a single photon being able to disrupt things, but yeah, that's kind of what I expected.

    So are pretty much all black holes thought to be Kerr black holes? Are we able to estimate their rate of rotation?
  5. Apr 24, 2013 #4


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    I'm fairly certain we have no direct observational evidence for the spin of ANY black holes. Nevertheless, computer models of how black holes form from stellar collapse in general predict that you can get very high spins, a~0.9 or even more.
  6. Apr 24, 2013 #5


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    The concept of spin applied to a black hole is not easily grasped. What is it that spins? The spin of a dimensionless point [the putative singularity] does not appear to be physically meaningful. What about the event horizon? The event horizon is basically a mathematical construct, the maximum distance from the center of a black hole where spacetime curves back around on itself. Is it physically meaningful [consequences] to discuss a spinning mathematical construct? The accretion disk of a black hole rather obviously must spin, but, for reasons unrelated to the origin of a black hole. I think this begs the question of whether the singularity is truly dimesnsionless. If it has any finite dimensionality it would surely spin at a phenomenal rate. We see this in the case of white dwarfs and neutron stars, which spin very fast compared to ordinary stars.
  7. Apr 25, 2013 #6
    Instead of spin it might be better to think of angular momentum. I don't know any of the details, but would think that this can be measured by measuring frame dragging, about which I know very little.
  8. Apr 25, 2013 #7
    That is fascinating. I was half-wondering about how a point could be said to spin, without ever really thinking about it clearly.

    But what I understand even less is how a point can be a torus, which is said to be the shape of the singularity in a Kerr black hole. Isn't there an inconsistency between the concept of a singularity and the concept of a three-dimensional torus?

    (More likely, the apparent inconsistency is a result of my limited understanding of both black holes and geometry...)
  9. Apr 25, 2013 #8
    Somehow particles manage 'spin; Why would it not BH spin be as 'physically meangingfull' as the spin of a particle. [/QUOTE]

    The difference I'm aware of is that a BH singularity is a 'point' in GR; point particles are described via QM. Oh yes, and a BH singularity is a point in time, not space.

    From an earlier forums discussion:
    don't have a source....maybe someone can confirm or refute....

    edit: I skimmed Wikipedia Kerr BH...I did not see a spin rate....
  10. Apr 25, 2013 #9


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    The spin of the supermassive black hole in NGC 1365 was measured a couple months ago. AFAIK this was the first successful measurement of black hole spin - re: A rapidly spinning supermassive black hole at the centre of NGC 1365, http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.7002. What was measured, however, was the spin of the accretion disk at the innermost stable circular orbit located at about 2.5 Schwarzschild radii from the singularity. Unsurpringly, the accretion disk is spinning at nearly the speed of light at that distance. It is unclear [at least to me] how this relates to the intrinsic spin of the black hole.
  11. Apr 26, 2013 #10

    A singularity is a place where the math breaks down and you get an undefined answer, usually an infinity. I doesn't have to be any particular shape. There is a "coordinate singularity" at the event horizon. That more or less means you get infinity if you look at it one way, but can get rid of it if you look at the problem another way.
  12. Apr 26, 2013 #11
    The spin of a black hole can be pretty much established by were the location of the marginally stable orbit is. For a static black hole, the MSO is at 6M and for a spinning bh, this can range from between 6M to 1M, 1M being maximal. The equations used are on page 258 of the following link-

    http://www.lsw.uni-heidelberg.de/users/mcamenzi/CObjects_06.pdf [Broken]

    if we have spin (a) and mass (M) then we can establish the MSO, if we already have the MSO and mass then we can establish spin. For a bh with a MSO of 2.5M, the spin parameter would be a/M≈0.87
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  13. Apr 26, 2013 #12
    As stated by great astrophysisists it can never be known and only infered.
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