06May2013

A Voyage To The Bottom Of A Black Hole

Space isn’t really the final frontier; rather the inside of a Black Hole that’s inside of space really is the final frontier. Only the insanely suicidal need boldly go and explore in there.

And, for sure, it’s unlikely that the innards of a Black Hole will become a popular tourist attraction for many a millennia to come – if ever. Okay, we have a depressed, suicidal, boldly going spaceship pilot, and she’s determined to go out in a blaze of glory and make her mark in the history books. No ordinary suicide for this woman! It’s across the event horizon threshold and down the hatch of a Black Hole. I need point out here and explain that technical term ‘event horizon’ – it’s just that location that divides the ability to return home safely from the point of no return, ever.

Countdown: Five, four, three, two, one – we have lift-off on the maiden voyage to boldly go and see what’s to be seen from the inside of a Black Hole.

As far as our suicidal pilot is concerned, everything from launch to crossing the event horizon is as normal as taking the cross-town bus to work. Time will tick by at one second per second; her mass will register normal; length ditto. However, due to Einstein’s concepts in all things being relative, an external observer will see our boldly going pilot’s reality slightly differently.

An external observer, say relaxing back on Earth with a super powerful telescope, follows ionization trail of the boldly going voyager’s spaceship to the nearest Black Hole. Basically, what this person sees is that as the suicidal voyager blasts off from Earth, picks up speed, her ship and contents (including herself) start to shrink in length, increase in mass, and her rate-of-change (time) ticks by more slowly compared to Mr. Stay-At-Home’s own. Okay, that’s in keeping with Einstein’s relativity proclamations.

But for some inexplicable reason, I’ve read several times some scientific author suggest that to an external observer, the suicidal pilot will not only be travelling slower and slower by the external observer’s clock as she approaches the event horizon, but in fact at contact with the event horizon her time, again as recorded by the external observer, will have stopped. In other words, the external observer will never witness the pilot’s crossover from outside the Black Hole’s event horizon to inside the Black Hole’s event horizon. The pilot will appear to be frozen in time at the event horizon, yet as far as the pilot is concerned, everything is normal in terms of time flowing at one second per second.

This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Now that’s a major paradox. The pilot can’t be crossing the event horizon at one second per second, while at the same time being frozen in time at the time of crossing, according to our stay-at-home observer. Of course the paradox is bullshit. To an external observer, time only comes to a screeching halt for someone external to them if they witness that someone travelling at the speed of light. Firstly, that’s a physical impossibility. There’s no reason to believe that our suicidal pilot is crossing the event horizon at light speed. There’s no absolute requirement that our suicidal pilot is crossing the event horizon at the speed of light. She in fact might have fired her retro-rockets to slow down just prior to crossing the event horizon in order to better savour the moment! So, in actual reality, our observer will see the pilot cross the event horizon, albeit at a way slower rate than the pilot herself because the pilot is travelling, hence doing the event horizon cross-over at less than the speed of light. IMHO, some ‘experts’ need to go back and redo Physics 101.

In any event, once the external observer observes our boldly going suicidal voyager cross the event horizon, the show is over for him. Nothing that’s part and parcel of the voyager, not her ship’s reflected or emitted light, not her radio signals nor information signalling of any kind, will recross the event horizon in the outward bound direction and heading back to Earth. Our external observer can pack away his telescope and get back to more interesting pursuits, like watching daytime television. But that’s not quite the end of the story.

And so it’s now over to the (never-to-be-revealed) recorded flight log of the voyager on her one-way trip to the Black Hole’s never-never land. Up to and including the crossover from the safe side of the event horizon to the ‘abandon hope all who enter here’ side of the event horizon, all is logged as 100% normalcy. Nothing shrinks, nothing grows in weight (increases in mass), and time does its one second per second thing as it always has done. It’s as easy as a trip from your home driveway to the supermarket parking lot, only once in the grip of the supermarket parking lot, forever in the grip of the supermarket parking lot. It’s a one-way ‘enter’ gate without a corresponding ‘exit’ sign.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/files/2012/12/film-cartoon_84-300x225.jpgSince we have no idea what the inside of a Black Hole actually is, since theoretical physics, quantum and relativity physics, break down into a mathematical mess, what our intrepid voyager will actually observe or experience is anybody’s guesstimate. There does appear to be one consensus however. Gravity rules, OK? Almost by definition there’s a hell of a lot of gravity to contend with once inside the supermarket parking lot – oops, sorry, inside the event horizon.

Now here on Earth, when standing up, gravity is pulling at your feet ever so slightly greater than it is tugging at your head – because your feet are slightly closer to Earth’s centre of mass. Earth’s gravity however is so weak that you don’t know or can’t feel the difference, but tests or experiments with extremely accurate atomic clocks show that this is true. Rate of change – time – is affected by gravity, so a clock atop a tall building runs slightly faster than an identical clock in the building’s basement.

Now the gravity of a Black Hole is many, many, many orders of magnitude stronger than it is here on Terra Firma. So, it is speculated that if you are inside a Black Hole, say in free-fall, and say in a vertical position, then the gravity pulling on your feet will be not only vastly greater than if you were on Earth, but also the differential between feet and head will be orders of magnitude greater. Translated, gravity inside a Black Hole is going to stretch you out like a piece of taffy. Like in one of those fun house mirrors, you will be very, very, very tall and very, very, very thin. Ultimately you will be akin to a piece of string or spaghetti, but by that time you’ll be very, very, very dead as the human body wasn’t designed to be viable under such a state of affairs. Okay, that’s the consensus.

Now for the speculation: Let us suppose that our suicidal voyager survives her voyage (curses, foiled again) and gets to play tourist. What will she see or will she see anything at all? Well, yes, she will – see that is. The event horizon is like a one-way mirror. Light can pass through the event horizon into the interior of the Black Hole, but light cannot pass from the interior of the Black Hole through the event horizon to be witnessed by an outside observer. Okay, let there be light, and there was light. Light is energy, so there’s energy inside a Black Hole. It’s also been shown that a Black Hole has entropy, or in other words a temperature. That too is energy.

There’s matter (mass) inside a Black Hole – obviously, since there’s gravity. Now the big unknown is what kind of matter is that matter? We don’t know. Outside of a Black Hole matter exists in four states – solid, liquid, gas and plasma. The transition from one state of matter to another is called a phase change, as in ice to water to steam. One speculation is that the matter inside a Black Hole undergoes a phase change to something even more solid and denser than, well a dense solid.

We sort of observe this in a Neutron Star, a star extremely massive with extreme gravity, but just short of enough gravity to form an event horizon and turn into a Black Hole. Why is it called a Neutron Star? Well, the gravity is so great that the bits and pieces of the atom, electrons, neutrons and protons are squashed together into one big glob. The positive protons fuse with the negative electrons – these electric charges thus cancelling out – to make neutrons, hence join with the already neutral neutrons, so everything forms into just one huge glob of neutron soup, or a Neutron Star. Rapidly spinning Neutron Stars are also known as Pulsars.

http://images.persianblog.ir/404678_13912112.jpg

What’s really in there… at the bottom of all this?

 Now if atoms lose all sense of identity, there is no atomic structure, no isotopes, no molecules, no elements, no compounds, no electrons and no protons, then I’d have to define that as a phase transition, but one we don’t witness on Earth. Given the even more extreme gravity inside a Black Hole, would that same phase transition to a neutron soup hold sway, or might there be another beyond that found in Neutron Stars?

Neutrons are not fundamental particles. A glob of neutron soup is ultimately a glob of quark soup, as quark trios comprise the identity we call a neutron. Neutrons are actually composite particles. However, as quarks are fundamental particles, it’s unlikely they can be crushed or fused together. Electrons too are fundamental, but it is well known – to particle physicists at least – that an isolated neutron will in fairly quick-smart order decay to a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. Reactions are reversible so it is straightforward to create a neutron if the ingredients are brought together with sufficient energy.

Since a Neutron Star is just one coin short of a Black Hole dollar, the inside of a Black Hole could well be akin to a Neutron Star, only slightly more massive. One thing is certain IMHO, the interior will not be matter crushed down to the infinitely small (i.e. – zero volume); the interior will not be infinitely dense.

Illustration of the event horizon (Schwarzschi...

Illustration of the event horizon (Schwarzschild radius) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What lies at the heart of a Black Hole? The traditional answer is a ‘singularity’ – a point of (near) infinite density and (close to) zero volume, matter crushed down to the final, ultimate limit – or maybe not.

Start with a hunk of matter. Keep on keeping on adding more and more and more matter (mass) to it. Your original hunk grows larger, ever denser; its gravity swells in proportion. Finally it’s just a fraction away from achieving Black Hole status – meaning its gravity is so strong not even light can escape from its grasp. It’s that Neutron Star entity.

So you are a thimbleful of salt away from crossing the not-quite-yet a Black Hole to an actual Black Hole boundary. You can (barely) still see your now super-sized hunk of Neutron Star stuff. Now toss in that final thimbleful of stuff onto the hunk. No light now reaches you – you’ve crossed the threshold or boundary and have got a Black Hole.

But do you doubt that lurking on the other side of the not-quite-yet a Black Hole to an actual Black Hole boundary, though unseen, you still have that super-sized hunk of stuff, not a singularity, but a really real solid 3-D hunk of stuff? Or, in other words, if the escape velocity of your hunk is 185,999 miles per second, no Black Hole and no singularity, but if it climbs to 186,001 miles per second you have a Black Hole and your hunk morphs into a singularity? A two mile a second difference makes that much difference? I don’t think so.

The other issue though is this really going to be a one-way trip for our boldly going voyager, dead or alive? One of the 64,000 $64,000 questions: Can you pour stuff down a Black Hole indefinitely, or does the Black Hole have a finite capacity and ultimately or eventually wi

ll have to spew stuff out the ‘other side’ (i.e. – producing a White Hole) as you keep pouring in more and more and more? I’d wager the conservation relationships and principles of physics and chemistry hold sway here. What goes in ultimately comes out. That doesn’t mean there’s not a temporary holding vessel. Or, in more human terms, you fill what’s empty; you empty what’s full, but in-between those two there’s storage in the stomach and the intestines; the lungs and the bladder.

Let’s adopt that point of view that what goes in, ultimately has to come out.

And so, our intrepid voyager might well exit elsewhere, maybe even elsewhen. The exit could be deemed the opposite of a Black Hole, or a White Hole; the passageway from Black Hole entrance to White Hole exit is that staple of sci-fi, albeit based in the realm of theoretical physics, the Wormhole. That the exit could be elsewhen is based on the theoretical ‘fact’ that a wormhole could be manipulated in such a manner as to allow for time travel. If that’s too far out for you, then a Wormhole elsewhere shouldn’t be. The apt analogy is with an apple. Mr. Worm can crawl around the outside of the apple to get from one side to the other, or Mr. Worm could take a shortcut and worm his way through the apple to get to the other side, or elsewhere.

Now the question arises, is there any observational evidence that White Holes and associated exits exist? Astronomers and cosmologists would argue in the negative, but I’m not convinced. What would be the signature of a White Hole? Well, it would be roughly stellar-sized, not planetary or galactic. It would be vomiting out one heck of a lot of stuff including lots of energy. Does the cosmos contain such beasties? Obvious candidates are quasars – quasi-stellar objects.

http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/jparker/uploaded_images/091025-754688.jpg

Just to show it’s not all serious….

Quasars are roughly stellar in size, but violently emitting the froth and bubble of nearly an entire galaxy worth of stuff and energy. The other high-energy astrophysical anomaly is gamma ray bursts. They occur way out back of beyond, in the outer fringes of the cosmos, which is all to the good for if a gamma ray burst happened in our stellar neck of the woods, the results would be akin to Kentucky Fried Humans! Still, we don’t know enough squat about them to be able to predict exactly where and when one will happen. So, astronomers who are into studying these cosmic critters are akin to sleeping fireman who never knows when they will be rudely awakened to respond to that rare five-alarm event.

So, in short, we have Black Holes that are your ultimate in garbage disposals; Quasars and gamma ray bursts that are your ultimate in, IMHO, recycling that garbage back into useful cosmic stuff – matter and energy. In other words, they are the exit to the Black Hole’s entrance.

No matter. Either our boldly going voyager has snuffed it going into a Black Hole; is forever trapped in a Black Hole; or has been turned into a Kentucky Fried Human and vomited back out again via a White Hole quasar or gamma ray burst to become as one with the cosmos. We all started out as starstuff – and so shall we (or what’s left of our remains) all ultimately return to become starstuff again a millennia of millennia from now. Article Source: John Prytz . Article Source: http://www.ElectricArticles.com  

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