Black Holes

A de-romanticized look into the abyss.

Since modern theories of black holes emerged in the last century, they have attained a pseudo-scientific mystique. While being entirely a logical result based in Einstein relativity, there is the belief among many scientists that they represent where the laws of physics as we know them ends.

Despite rampant romanticization of this cosmic phenomenon, through modern scientific observation we can make sensible presumptions regarding the pedestrian contents of these frequently misrepresented objects.

What really is a Black Hole?

To start, let us be clear that it is not, in fact, a "hole".  Although the gravity well diagram is a popular tool for describing the effect of gravity, it is symbolic and not literally true.

Most simply put, a black hole is an area where gravitational effect is so extreme that particles cannot escape it. Stated more precisely, the slope of time dilation around the black hole is steep enough that even the lightest observable particles (photons) are not able to traverse the area before being steered back into it.

The cause of this phenomenon is an extreme quantity of particles present within a relatively small area.  As all fundamental particles produce time dilation, at a high enough density they can form an area of time dilation extreme enough to trap themselves within that area. The computed theoretical diameter for a given quantity of particles to become  black hole is named the Schwarzschild radius.

The surprisingly difficult task of forming a black hole.

What is the strongest structure in the universe?  If you mentioned a heavy metal or exotic crystal, remember that all objects of volume include hadrons!  Also, the tighter matter is packed together, the more energetic and repulsive they become. This tendency to repel compression is what causes stars to ignite instead of collapse.  Even when the core of a star collapses in a supernova, many time it results in a neutron stars where matter is so dense all that is left is neutrons (neutral-charged hadrons).  Although the density of matter in a neutron star is as small as physically possible, the hadrons that remain tenaciously maintain their volume by wielding the aptly named “Strong Atomic Force”.

This means that under typical conditions, mass will firmly resist compression.  Even if these hadron fail, the remaining elementary particles will escape at a rate close to “c”. To create a black hole by simply having enough “stuff” in one spot is, fortunately, not going to just happen.

In other words, hadron volume is sufficient to resist Schwarzschild radius densities preventing static gravity conditions from resulting in a black hole.  Even if the forces are sufficient to crush some hadrons, this will equally relieve the pressure on the neighboring mass preventing a systematic collapse.  Therefore, black holes are too dense to contain hadrons since they define too much volume to fit within the required radius.

To create a black hole, there must be both sufficient high density mass in a limited area, and a drastic yet rapid event to trap a massive release of fundamental particles.  By “rapid” we mean either the relative velocity of the system or the rate of a catastrophic change within a given space must be sufficient.  Again, since the components of failing atomic structure will radiate away from the epicenter at c, such a collapse of volume needs to affect a large enough mass within a brief enough period to create a sufficiently steep slope of time dilation. Without a sufficiently sudden change in slope, the various fundamental particles released by failing hadrons will be able to escape the event.  Our recipe for a perfect black hole is:

     1 or 2 parts large mass - A large dying start or 2 neutron stars make good candidates.
     A dash of velocity - The faster the objects are spinning and/or moving relative to their surroundings, the more time dilation will reduce the escape velocity of failed hadrons.
     1 rapidly catastrophic event - Set your star to "supernova", or mash those neutron stars together as fast as you can.

Similar to the Fatman nuclear bomb, the converging shock waves from a solar mass explosion creates inward compression forces at an extremely rapid rate.  This causes not only a hadron cataclysm at the center, but the immense amount of particles and energy going inwards from the explosion add to the particle density of the event.  The simultaneity of collapse and significant contribution of particles from the explosion are necessary to tip the particle density over to black hole levels.

When mashing neutron stars, these objects are already at their theoretical maximum density and often spinning at velocities that are relativistically significant.  Bump a couple of these together fast enough and the hadron cataclysm at their merger might be fast enough to form a new black hole.

But just like when making a souffle, if the cooking environment isn't just right the whole thing might just fall apart.

Is "information" preserved inside of a black hole?

Since a black hole is only possible by providing particle densities beyond what is possible wit hadrons, with confidence we can presume that it contains only fundamental particles. Matter that enters a black hole will disintegrate into photons, electrons, quarks, etc., after crossing the event horizon. We can only speculate if this happens mechanically due to immense tidal stress (spaghettification) or unspectacularly as a result of time dilation rendering gluons non-functional.

In either case, black holes are only possible because fundamental particles do not take up space  Even if there some hadrons do exist within a black hole, the immense density of particles and/or the extremely high time dilation would likely inhibit atomic structures.

So if an object falls into a black hole, is the information preserved?  Consider a Fabergé egg being dropped into a running blender set to the highest setting with countless other Fabergé eggs. What once made up that individual priceless Easter decoration is still there, and one could determine the motion of its particles (with an infinite amount of computation).  So that is a definite "Yes"?

Another aspect of the information question is whether any part of the "information" continues to exist.  Considering that we are simply speaking about relativity, all the particles within the black hole are still moving at or near "c" from their perspective.  Even though to get a mass dense enough to become or enter a black hole will likely reduce it to particles, once beyond the event horizon it takes a significantly longer time relatively for a photon to cover the same distance.

Nothing in the universe can come to a complete stop or cease to exist, as that defeats the reality of relativity and the equivalence principle.  It's the inability to directly observe the contents of a black hole which leaves the imagination room to dream of what magic may be contained inside.  Although we do not believe that in any way creates an "information paradox", rest assured this cosmic obsidian vault can be withdrawn from.

Can anything ever escape a black hole?

There is much speculation regarding what if anything escapes from black holes. The assumption is that everything that crosses the event horizon is trapped forever or is no longer even part of this universe. However, we must remind ourselves that black holes are a relativistic phenomenon. The textbook definition of "relative" is something in proportion to something else. Even Einstein was famously wrong in his doubts regarding quantum mechanics arguing universal absolutes.
The first flaw in assuming that the state of a black hole is absolute is presuming that they are no longer behaving relative or proportional to their surroundings.

Second is equating the lack of observation with complete knowledge.
~ It was hardly 100 years ago that scientists believed there was only 1 galaxy that had existed eternally.
~ 30 years after that before we observed the CMB providing a theoretical limit to the observable universe.
~ Another 40 years until we discovered the Kupier belt.
~ There were no direct measurements or images of a black hole until after 2010. All evidence to that point has been indirect and theoretical.
~ In late 2020 it was announced that there may be roughly 40% more interstellar hydrogen than previously estimated.
40% more of the element that makes up approximately 75% of the universe sound like a drastically higher amount! In short, we are continuously making sizable metric-altering discoveries within light hours of Earth. It is unlikely we have complete observational evidence of objects over 1,000 light years away.

There are several hypotheses for ways in which particles can exit a black hole. This is based on the uncomplicated theory that a black hole is simply a lot of fundamental particles steered into a limited space by its own disproportionately high time dilation relative to its surroundings:

The Lucky Shot:
Since a fundamental particle is always in motion, if it is moving perpendicular to the center of gravity it should simply leave the black hole. The only reason this would be rare is, outside of a perfectly balanced ascension, the particle will be steered back before escaping the event horizon. Since the quantity of particles escaping in this way will be relatively low, escaping particles may not be detectable beyond background noise. In all likelihood, what escapes the black hole should simply be at the same energy level it was at prior to falling in, so distinguishing between black hole escapees and radiation from other nearby sources might not be possible.

Internal Change in particle distribution:
If the movement of particles is such that a sufficient quantity reaches just beyond the Schwarzschild radius, this may allow a notable emission of particles from or even a sudden vaporization of a black hole.
For example, the converging shock waves from a stellar explosion would force a vast amount of particles towards the center of the event resulting in a black hole. As the black hole region is highly time dilated, the shock wave may take some time to cross past itself and start moving outward. If the Schwarzschild radius is violated simultaneously by a notable quantity of particles, a particle emission that is measurably similar to the original supernova may result.
Alternatively, introduction of sufficient matter over a short enough period may impact the slope of time dilation enough to allow the particles therein to violate the Schwarzschild radius limit.
In the case of an asymmetrically formed black hole, imbalances in the internal particle churn might result in regular pulsar-like emissions.

Relativity Compression:
If the regional level of time dilation surrounding a black hole increases from the time of its creation, the Schwarzschild radius would shrink proportionally. This shift of parameters would causing a release of some or all of its contents depending upon the magnitude of change since it was formed.
Dilation Flooding theory explains how cosmic redshift is caused by the relative change in the level of time dilation throughout the universe over time. This is a possible mechanism for explaining why the universe isn't already full of black holes.

Maybe someday we'll be able to get a better closeup of one of these elusive beauties and learn all of their secrets. Until then, I'd rather not make a mermaid out of a manatee! 

What would the particles exiting a black hole look like?

A black hole is really no more than a "time dilation depression".  It isn't any different than any other large object except in slope and depth of the "depression" Where our planet's "depression" prevents most matter from escaping without being steered back into it, a black hole's slope is steep and deep enough to steer fundamental particles back inside.  But if the angle of a particle is just right or if the distribution of particles within the black hole in any part exceeds the the Schwarzschild radius, there are certainly escapees.

But what will these fugitive look like?  Would we be able to discriminate where they came from?

Various theories including Hawking Radiation have a very structured expectation to what properties they expect to measure in a black hole evacuee.  However, it is the exotic nature of these hypotheses which would make William of Occam turn in his grave. In one case, a quantum splitting of particles must happen when entering a black hole where one of each pair happens to go out while the other goes in.  Or an exotic conversion of energy within the black hole creates a yet unobserved (or unobservable?) radiation emission.  In either case, these concepts seem unnecessarily complicated.

Since a black hole is in reality just an extraordinarily deep and steep "time dilation depression" By applying simple concepts like conservation of energy and the equivalence principle, what comes out is probably going to be very similar to what goes in.
In other words, a black hole is certainly the most burly cosmic half pipe, and if you drop-in sketchy you wont be able to mongo your way out.  But a steezy carve through the bowl and you should acid drop out the other side.

As it is our hypothesis that a black hole contains only fundamental particles, the disintegration of atomic structure and hadrons will need to happen for all matter entering the "depression".  Black holes are primarily identified by analyzing x and gamma rays, which is not unlike the radiation emitted during nuclear fission which may happen to matter entering one.  Since nothing within the black hole should be able to alter the energy state of the entering particles, if they happen to escape at some point there is no reason to expect anything but the same energy level that entered in the first place.  Because the events that form black holes would have a broad spectrum of frequencies, and they would not discriminate what particles enter them, the particles that manage to escape would not have any notable characteristics.

So what you get out of a black hole is going to look a lot like what went in.  And since the rate of particle escape will be relatively low, it is unlikely we can ever differentiate between background noise and black hole escapees.  In cases where larger quantities may escape in bursts or over time, these black holes may in fact be mistaken for pulsars or stellar explosion afterglow.

This article makes the case for a modest approach to the much ballyhooed black hole which we believe resolves many unrequited hypothesis. Although our approach may seem homely, we are emboldened by the difficulty of black hole formation combined with the simplicity and finiteness of its function.
We have shown a light on what was thought to be a galactic monster and found only a cute dust bunny that consumed a ridiculous amount of carrots. 🐇

Still infatuated with black holes?  Let us know questions@WhetScience.com.

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