29 July, 2021

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Black Holes Do Exist

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Black holes are regions in space where gravity is so strong that nothing that enters can escape, including light” ~ Stephen Hawking as a rising physicist.

Black holes aren’t as black as painted. They are not the eternal prisons once thought. Things can get out on the outside and possibly to another universe inside ~ Stephen Hawing, Commun. Math. Phys. 43, April, 1975

That Black Holes (BH) exist was foreshadowed in Einstein’s General Relativity paper of 25 Nov. 2015, though it was incorrectly attributed to Stephen Hawing. What Hawing proposed was a theory that they emit radiation which can be detected and this makes an observational quest for a BH Holy Grail, meaningful. A BH is a weird thing; it starts when a massive star, usually more massive than our sun explodes in a supernova and then collapses sucking in nearby stars and portions of its galaxy. It is the most powerful event known in the universe apart from the Big Bang 14 billion years ago. The edge of a BH is the Event Horizon and nothing that crosses it ever comes out; it emits no light it reflects no light; trillions of tons of matter, millions or billions of stars disappear into who knows where, it is a one way street. An Information Paradox emerges – information ceases to exist and without data, measurement and chronology the laws of physics go belly-up. Where the hell does everything go? Maybe to hell indeed establishing the realty of hell to the delight of the faithful! Some like Hawking speculate that maybe the anus of a BH could be another parallel universe but to the common sense (quotidian) rational mind such strangeness even cast in the symbols of mathematics is no different from the rantings of religious quacks. But theoretical physics is not my speciality so I will draw up my paper and say no more on these strange philosophical disputations.

Supermassive black-hole at centre of the M87, 53 million light-years away.
(Image Credit: Event Horizon Research Group, April 2019)

Stephen Hawking is renowned for his thesis that “black holes aren’t as black as painted; they are not the eternal prisons once thought. Things can get out.” Well not quite, but at the event horizon matter may fizz; what is now called Hawking Radiation is released because of quantum effects at the event horizon; matter degenerates into pairs, photons and neutrinos, particle and anti-particle etc. It’s a bold attempt to marry general relativity (colossal gravity) with quantum physics (particle physics). Let’s stop the weird stuff here and get to a real story. Irrespective of parallel universe speculations and whether information can really leak out of the deepest entrails of a BH, there is one interesting point. Searching for Hawking Radiation is a way of searching for a BH event horizon  – you see though the existence of BHs have been theorised from the time of General Relativity none have actually been seen (cannot be seen) by a telescopic or any device. Eureka let’s search for Hawking Radiation, and if we finds it we can surmise that a BH lies hidden behind its veil.

The problem is that to look sufficiently far into the cosmos – and correspondingly back in time – and see something even as massive as a BH requires a gigantic telescope, one as big as the earth itself. Hooray, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to the rescue! The EHT consists of eight massive telescopes distributed in different parts of the world – two in continental USA and one each in Hawaii, Mexico and the South Pole and two in Chile. All carefully coordinated and synchronised to peer exactly at the same point in space all at once. It’s like smashing a mirror into pieces, distributing the pieces in different locations, collecting the individual images and using clever algorithms and super computers to fill the gaps and build a composite image.

Visualization of a BH. Matter falling in first collects in a thin hot accretion disk.
(Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics)

The BH of choice was the one at the centre of M87 a supergiant elliptical galaxy with several trillion stars, about a thousand times larger than our Milky Way. It is 53 million light-years away but one of the brightest radio sources in the sky. True the BH at the centre of the Milky Way is only 26,000 light years away so why was it not selected? Well although M87 is 2000 times farther away the BH at its centre is humongous, about 1500 times larger and its mass is equal to 6 billion suns! Anyway ours is not to question why the boffins in charge of the project – I believe in consultation with Hawking – decided on the M87 BH. Imaging and data collection using the globally distributed EHT array started in 2017 but it took a long time to get all the observations together and the final processed image was released on 10 April 2019. For the first time an image of a BH Event Horizon was seen. Interestingly this is almost 100 years to within weeks of when Arthur Eddington looked at the stars beyond a solar eclipse from Principe Island, West Africa on 29 May 1919. Edington was so overjoyed by observations that confirmed Einstein’s theory that he parodied Omar Khayyam in his notebook:

Oh leave the Wise our measures to collate

One thing at least is certain, light has weight

One thing is certain and the rest debate

Light rays, when near the Sun, do not go straight.

April 2019 is not as breath-taking for science as was May 1919 but it does make a point and opens a can of worms. A Princeton PhD student Jacob Bekenstein was dissatisfied with Hawking’s original formulations and reasoned that if a BH emits radiation it does not violate the sacrosanct Second Law of Thermodynamics. Meaning in laymen’s words that it cools with time and eventually disappears. That opens a Pandora’s Box; what about the alternative universe at the anus? If BHs radiate and eventually evaporate and disappear does all the information that fell in simply vanish? If ‘yes’ it violates quantum mechanics (entanglement); if ‘no’ it violates general relativity (gravity).

The EHT experiments and observations of 2016-19 did not resolve these conundrums but they did establish that Hawing radiation exists, like tell-tale loose hairs sticking out of a bald pate and can be used to target a BH. Perhaps Hawking’s two greatest contributions were the prediction that black holes emit radiation and the attempt to fuse quantum physics and relativity, if not as a general theory at least in the examination of a particular problem. He will be remembered as the Twentieth Century’s foremost physicist next to Einstein. The great paradoxes however remains unsolved – but the EHT experiments were not designed to deal with them.

When pairs of particles and antiparticles spawn in the event horizon, quantum physics says that the pair share a connection, an entanglement; this is information. But one is released as Hawking radiation while the other falls into the BH and everything about it is forever lost. The Information Paradox is reborn. Some physicists lamely hold that information is preserved because new correlations are created among the particles in the Hawking radiation. But from the perspective of the particle falling freely into the BH this is b-s. Gravity disappears for a free-falling observer hence it sees no event horizon and therefore remains entangled with its soul-mate. Quantising gravity, as Hawking did, has created a new set of unresolved contradictions. Whenever science solves a riddle it opens the door to ten others; therefore scientists are never unemployed.

[Note: I consider it the responsibility of ageing academics from time to time to present new trends in technology and science in a form intelligible to a wide readership. I have undertaken, I think successful interventions in electrical energy issues. I am not so sure about this piece which attempts to update the general reader about the Event Horizon Telescope and the involvement of 250 scientists from across the world from 2016 to 2019. Will it hold a lay reader’s attention to the end?  If those with an interest in modern science and school kids with an exposure to A-Level physics keep reading right to the end, I will not ask for more].

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Latest comments

  • 14
    2

    “Black Holes Do Exist”

    In Sri Lanka we call it the elected politician. Sucks the living life of the country and drains the treasury without a trace.

    • 10
      2

      Burt

      While discussing Black Holes how did Kumar David miss “Chandrasekhar limit”, perhaps because Dr Chandrasekhar was a Noble Laureate for Physics and was born in India to Tamil parents.

      • 2
        6

        NV
        Professor Kumar knows that Tamils cannot be trusted with zeros.
        They write 50,000 for 5,000.

        Soma

        • 7
          2

          soman

          “Professor Kumar knows that Tamils cannot be trusted with zeros.
          They write 50,000 for 5,000.”

          Thanks.
          Here we are discussing about Black Holes not A**holes.
          Sorry for omitting people like you, Wimal, Champika, ………. from this discussions.

          • 2
            2

            NV
            I suspected that could be the reason why Prof. Kumar omitted “Chandrasekhar limit” which upset you.
            Professor Chandrasekhar would have calculated the limit to be 50,000 while the actual figure is 5,000.

            Soma

            • 2
              0

              soman

              “Professor Chandrasekhar would have calculated the limit to be 50,000 while the actual figure is 5,000.”

              You need good rest and oxygen.
              You are confused.
              Take care.

          • 0
            0

            Wasn’t Robert Knox a prophet then?

            • 1
              0

              KA

              “Wasn’t Robert Knox a prophet then?”

              Did Robert Knox have a road map reach Black hole?

      • 6
        1

        As Sri Lankans, those of us who are not trying to prove that the Buddha spoke of Black Holes should be concerned with how this new development can be used to refine astrology. Surely, since these Black Holes are much more massive than all the planets put together, maybe, just maybe, they are the reason Sumanadasa was so wrong about Mahinda’s future?

      • 6
        0

        NV,

        I think KD might have thought he couldn’t fit it into this article for the layman, but I agree it is important to talk about Chandrasekhar’s contributions. When someone talks about Arthur Eddington, it is especially important to talk about his mistreatment of Chandra.

        • 4
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          Agnos

          Agreed.

        • 5
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          Agnos
          True. But also relevant is
          “Surprising as it may seem, Chandra and Eddington stayed good friends despite their controversy, though this controversy had a great effect on the career trajectory and style of Chandra’s work and on the progress of astrophysics. He and Milne also remained good friends. He gave the `Milne Lecture’ at the Oxford University on 6 December 1979 on the scientific work of his friend. Chandra was also invited to deliver two centenary lectures on Eddington on 19 and 21 December 1983 at the Trinity College of Cambridge and he chose the title `Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of His Time’.” (from “S Chandrasekhar: His Life and Science” by Virendra Singh, Indian Academy of Sciences article)
          *
          They were not petty.

      • 6
        1

        Native,

        You’re a rocket scientist?

        He was always ignored …… starting with Arthur Eddington ……… when he won the Nobel Prize, the American newsreaders couldn’t even pronounce his name ………

        • 2
          0

          At the end of the day, scientists are no different to politicians …….. in underhand dealings …..

          They/we are all human …….. perhaps with the only exception, Native!

          https://www.nature.com/articles/435020a

          • 2
            0

            nimal fernando

            Thanks for the link.

            According the article:
            “In 1930, at the age of just 19, Chandra made the pioneering discovery that such objects should continue to collapse to a singularity, …………………………………………………”

            I am just wondering what nimal was up to with the Chinese girl, still in teens and squandering away family fortunes, …… ?

            Did you have good time?

          • 1
            0

            Dear NF,
            .
            there are exemplary good politicians, may be few, so dont put them all in one single bin.
            Scientists if coming from SOUTHASIAN region… so you need to think twice. See, how they react today regarding COVID related stuff ? An european professors would not issue evasive statments just because they are viologists. However, I see, even low lives such as GMOA men, make public statements misleading the masses in our hell hole.
            Look at Jayasumana (not a specialist in contagious disease), to have earned all higher academic titles, but to my info…he has no sufficient records in post doctoral exp. His is cited as a prof… while enough qualified candidates in Cmbo and other university dont even wear ” associate Prof title”. That Rajarata UKKD almost became their gold spring. There are rumours Jayasumana with that ULTRA racist Nalin De Silva to go on believing in NATHA DEWIYA to the very same degree as Dhammika Paniya maker did it. Can you imagine, how could these men ever be known to be researchers ?
            :
            The worst are found in south asian region and latin america. I go tot know indian professors visiting europe, had joined master courses just because they are not well paid for their positions in India.
            :
            Some politicians in europe and japan would not earn anything beyond their monthly salaries.

        • 5
          1

          nimal fernando

          Hopefully KD will remember next time to include Chandra’s uncle Sir C V Raman, (another Nobel Laureate) when he discusses Raman Effect.

          Warning, if he doesn’t we may have to invite Prof Nalin de Silva to talk about Sir C V Raman.

          • 1
            0

            NV: Why not invite “Pro.” Rohitha Rajapakse -( Dr. Chichi)the youngest “Astronomy Professor” Sri Lanka has produced and still being “Maintained” (provide board and lodging) by the “Tax” payers.?

            • 1
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              Simon

              “Why not invite “Pro.” Rohitha Rajapakse -( Dr. Chichi)the youngest “Astronomy Professor” Sri Lanka has produced and still being “Maintained” (provide board and lodging) by the “Tax” payers.?”

              Dr. Chichi has coauthored at least two papers on space junk, how to retrieve and clean the space:
              Adaptation to Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and Space Law
              by Chandana Rohitha Rajapaksa and Jagath Wijerathna

              Space Debris Removal Strategies and their Feasibility
              Chandana Rohitha Rajapaksa and Jagath Wijerathna

              Evaluating the Effectiveness of Parametric and Nonparametric Energy Consumption Forecasts for a Developing Country
              Emmanuel Sirimal Silva and Chandana Rohitha Rajapaksa

              https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Chandana-Rajapaksa-2

              I found it strange.

    • 3
      2

      Burt, Lucifer the archangel walking among fiery stones, wanted to be like God higher than politician, demanding worship Isa.14,14 and was cast out. No light can come into empty treasury black holes until the throne of justice and righteousness rules and reigns for ever.

      • 1
        0

        “to the common sense (quotidian) rational mind such strangeness even cast in the symbols of mathematics is no different from the rantings of religious quacks”
        On a dark night, it is hard to tell the difference between Advanced Physics and Advanced Theology.

    • 3
      3

      Burt, you beat me there. I held mine, out of respect to those serious experts. I admit not having much idea on this subject, other than what I witnessed in Lanka.

  • 2
    0

    This is a must read for Astrologers; Astronomers would be of-course familiar with this hypothesis.
    The Astrologers, particularly the South-Indian type should now be able to revise some of their fantastic predictions.

    I too need an Amendment[ not the 20th A ah! ] to my lousy horoscope.

    • 5
      0

      Plato, You want an amendment to your lousy horoscope. Here’s the best. Virgo, a virgin brings forth a son, who is Gemini, both God and man, our Libra balance being zero as his blood paid the price with the Capricorn sacrificial ram, poured out Aquarius living waters for Pisces humanity Aries for jews and gentiles, Sagittarius defeats enemy Scorpio death Cancer protection Taurus with brute force and Leo triumphant and reign forever and ever.

      • 1
        0

        davidthegood.

        That makes it 12 signs, the whole works.! Phew! The entire Zodiac!

      • 2
        0

        Wow! You think all of this is connected to our existence and brain, thus leading to our human interactions and history? Hindu/Buddhism have these concepts where everything in the outer world is connected to our inner world via our brain.

        • 0
          0

          Hindu/Buddhism have plenty of things for you to invent:
          Hawking radiation, quarks, string theory, chaos theory, Big Bang and many more out there and many more to come.

          • 1
            1

            S.J,
            All these holy books such as the Bible, Tripitaka, Quran, etc were authored by masters of the art of vagueness, so that future readers can find all sorts of predictions in them, usually after the event.

            • 0
              0

              Old Codger, You say predictions written in holy books after the event, but the bible wrote about the mazzaroth as a picture of how Jesus was to come on earth through a virgin birth and reign as the king Lion, long before Jesus came on the earth. How could that be possible unless there was a creator God who knew the end from the beginning. In fact in the very first book it is written that punishment of serpent for deceiving Adam and Eve would be that Jesus would crush the serpent’s head and the serpent could only injure the heel of Jesus at the crucifixion. Jesus came to earth only 4000 years later. Most of the old testament is historical and prophetic telling mankind what to expect.

  • 3
    5

    ” Einstein’s General Relativity paper of 25 Nov. 2015″
    Written posthumously I guess.

    • 5
      0

      25 Nov 1915 – typo error.

      • 8
        0

        After all what is 100 earth years when we talk of light years !

        • 2
          1

          eeakdavi and MyView
          I am here for the fun of it for a good part of the time; and you can imagine why.
          That was a typo that nobody would have taken seriously.
          No hard feelings.

          • 1
            0

            Dear SJ
            ……. for the fun of it……
            So were my comments but it got broken into two. Read together it makes that sense of fun.
            EKD : Sorry for the distraction on your serious subject.

            • 1
              0

              MV
              Thanks.
              I know Kumar David, and he can take a joke.
              The tragedy of those who take themselves too seriously is that they confuse humor with nasty snides.

      • 4
        0

        Sorry SJ and MyView,
        Typo or dotage I don’t know!

        Regarding my non-mention of Subrahmanyum Chandrasekaram whose work was on the structure and evolution of stars., adding three for four paragraphs to review the Chandrasekaram-Edington dispute (C was right and E was wrong) would have been too big a diversion for a small article focusing on the the new EHT experiment.

        • 2
          2

          eeakdavi

          “Regarding my non-mention of Subrahmanyum Chandrasekaram ………………… small article focusing on the the new EHT experiment.”

          Seriously, were you worried about மாஓவின் மைந்தன் (Mao’s Son) SJ challenging you for a duel?
          As far as SJ is concerned nothing existed until Chinese academics declared so. SJ believes it was Prof. LIU Jifeng who discovered LB-1 (a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the Sun).

          As far as SJ is concerned India is entirely populated with dump people hence it could not produce a world class scientist, let alone a Tamil Nobel Laureate. The fact that Dr Chandrasekaram’s name was nowhere to be found in Mao’s red book the claim that “Chandrasekhar limit” existed cannot be accepted, SJ would argue.

          I guess you anticipated nitpicking from SJ and avoided confrontation.
          Am I right?

          • 1
            0

            But Native Prof SJ says he is here for fun, in that case should Prof KD (for that matter anyone) take him serious. What if Prof. SJ himself is in a Black Hole ????

            • 0
              0

              The itch is back I guess.
              Thankfully no fatwa.

  • 4
    0

    Dear Dr. David,
    Thank you. Astronomy is my “hobby” and I have read all you have said.
    It is a refreshing deviation from Sri Lanka realities – unlike Black Hole theories.

  • 8
    2

    I thought the Kumar was writing about sri lanka , the political black hole, the economic black hole, the fx black hole, the constitutional black hole, port city black hole , politicians brain is a black hole the 20A is also gone in to a black hole

  • 3
    0

    “… and using clever algorithms and supercomputers to fill the gaps and build a composite image.”

    Precisely because these images are constructed from algorithms, the images might reflect preconceived notions and not actual reality. I would say a lot more scrutiny of the research methodologies, the underlying assumptions, and the algorithms being used, is needed. Other teams need to replicate it before we can make firm conclusions.

    • 1
      0

      Agnos
      Can I recommend to you “Humble Pi” by Matt Parker.
      You will relish it.

  • 0
    0

    Best Sci-fi Movie – Interstellar ( 2014). Wormholes that are tunnels through space and time and shortcuts through the universe to distant galaxies.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zSWdZVtX

    A wormhole is like a black hole in its scope for capturing gravity and light, but is less potent.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.space.com/amp/black-holes-as-wormholes-gamma-ray-flashes

  • 0
    0

    Prof Kumar David,

    Thanks for very informative science news.

    I recently read more news about black holes, for instance validation of some more predictions of Stephen Hawking. His prediction about “Hawking Radiation” had earlier been accepted and now “Hawking Area Theorem” was also validated.

  • 0
    0

    Best Sci-fi Movie – Interstellar ( 2014).
    About wormholes that tunnel through space and time and are shortcuts through the universe to distant galaxies…..like black holes in their scope for capturing gravity and light, but are less potent.

  • 0
    0

    Yes, BH are galactical equivalent of Goldman Sachs squid in planet earth, basically shreds and gobbles up anything that come to its attention.

    BH also gobble up other BH in slightly different manner, like the human powers in planet earth like US and China are orbiting the other.

  • 0
    0

    Kumar David, You agree that nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light. But your 2nd diagram shows singularity in the black hole. Singularity is the moment when technologically created artificial intelligence goes beyond the human brain through genetic manipulation for human enhancement. We already have a gain of function in the manipulated bat Covid virus from Wuhan, which keeps on mutating and becoming more virulent. Imagine a cyborg superman soldier, mutating to become more and more evil like the Nephilim giants like Goliath or the Titans, murdering all around with no morals or ethics. Humans are made in God’s image and he will not redeem that which he has not created. He said let there be light.

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