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Supernova Explosion near a black hole

  1. Mar 23, 2015 #1
    What would happen if there was a supernova explosion near a black hole ? Would it just sit there and absorb all the energy incident on it ? Or would it simply vaporize into elementary particles ? And if it does vaporize, could the remnants give us a clue as to the quantum state of matter inside a black hole ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2015 #2
    It depends what you mean by 'near' and the mass of the two objects.
    If you are thinking in terms of say one light year distance and objects in the order of a few solar masses, then some of the material ejected by the supernova will become accreted by and most likely absorbed by the black hole,
    However most of the ejecta would travel on other vectors that do not lead to it being accreted by the back hole , though the black hole could influence it's trajectory.

    This is assuming of course that material is ejected by the supernova in all directions.
    If the explosion was non symmetrical, that could lead to either more of the matter being accreted by the black hole or less.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  4. Mar 23, 2015 #3


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    If I understand your question correctly, you are asking what the effect would be on a black hole if a supernova went off somewhere near it, yes?

    The answer to that question is: it would get bigger.
  5. Mar 23, 2015 #4
    Thanks phinds for the more succinct description than mine.
    I had not realised at first that the OP envisaged the supernova transforming the BH into a different state so that we could observe inside it.
  6. Mar 24, 2015 #5
    Has such a phenomena been observed ?
  7. Mar 24, 2015 #6
    I don't know personally of any observation where this clearly is what happened.
    However there are many observations of phenomena where we are not sure of exactly what happened, but the scenario described is a possible explanation.
    Brief bursts of high energy radiation coming from a direction where nothing had been seen previously.
    There are other possible explanations for those as well though, merging neutron stars for instance.

    I doubt that there exists at this time any telescope having sufficient resolution to be certain precisely what has occurred when one of these radiation bursts is noticed, or the exact nature of the objects involved.
    It's pretty well established though that some of these radiation bursts could arise from situations where a black hole has consumed a large amount some kind of matter.
  8. Mar 24, 2015 #7


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    Like rootone, I don't know of any, but Google "black hole accretion disk".
  9. Mar 24, 2015 #8


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    I think you're asking if it is possible to essentially "overload" a black hole by "feeding it" too much matter.


    You could certainly have an arbitrarily large accretion disk, from the matter with enough orbital velocity to not fall into the BH immediately. That might be an interesting object. But you couldn't overload a BH. You would simply get a stronger burst of EM radiation as the increased matter compressed during its infall to the event horizon.
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