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How To Destroy a Black Hole

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the put-it-in-a-michael-bay-movie dept.

Space 364

KentuckyFC writes "The critical concept that makes a black hole black is the event horizon: a theoretical boundary in space through which light and other objects can pass in one direction but not the other. Since light cannot escape the event horizon, it must be black. The event horizon is a nuisance to astrophysicists because it hides the interesting new physics that must go on inside a black hole. What they would like is a way to get rid of the event horizon so that they can see what goes on behind it. It turns out that just such a thing may be possible, say physicists. According to the mathematics of general relativity, the event horizon should disappear if a black hole were fed enough charge and angular momentum relative to its mass. However the calculations are so fiendish (PDF) that nobody knows whether the black hole would shed this extra angular momentum and charge before it could settle into a stable 'naked' state. However, the possibility that the event horizon could be destroyed raises the question of what astrophysicists would see behind this veil. According to some, black holes are regions of spacetime with infinite curvature called singularities. Many believe that 'naked' singularities cannot exist in nature. And yet there are enough question marks to suggest that this mystery is far from settled."

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364 comments

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First! :D:D:D:D (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536776)

FIRST POST 1!1!1

Taco ravaged Soulskill's blackhole years ago (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536816)

Part of the interview...

Black holes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536834)

The quick brown nigger jumped over the lazy dog.

look, i like making fun of star trek technobabble (-1, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536842)

as much as the next guy, but when astrophysicists start taking this shit seriously, we have a problem

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (4, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536902)

On a less serious note, does Rule 34 apply to naked singularities?

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536940)

Rule 34 only applys if they exist... so if you can find port of a naked sigularity there's a good posability that they exist

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (5, Funny)

CyborgWarrior (633205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537184)

There are a number of factors to overcome when making singularity porn:

1. once you put it in, it's a real bitch to take it back out
2. nobody has ever successfully pulled out in time
3. they start at sucking and never manage to make it to the sex part
4. Ebony has a trademark on the term "black hole"
5. it's kind of a tease to watch because as much as they constantly approach the "event horizon", they never quite reach it

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537408)

Hold it... Rule 34 states that "if it exists, there's porn of it." It says nothing about "if there's porn of it, then it exists." I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt since you said "there's a good possibility that they exist," but you shouldn't assume that the converse of an if-then statement has the same truth value as the original.

Exactly how you would make porn of something that doesn't exist is left as an exercise to the reader.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536982)

On a less serious note, does Rule 34 apply to naked singularities?

Yes, of course. Rule34 applies to everything (and if not, Rule35 comes into play).

In this case -- you've seen goatse, right?

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537080)

Isn't that brown hole?

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (2, Informative)

MouseR (3264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537286)

Goatse is not a black hole but a brown dwarf.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (4, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536906)

People thought communicators were way to far out too when TOS came out. Now we take
them for granted.

Now I don't think there are going to be any practical experiments around this theory
anytime soon but "this shit" has to start somewhere. It's been said many times before
on /. but I'll go ahead and repeat it; a lot of scientists are heavily inspired by
science fiction and, especially when they are young, love to see if their favorite
tech from their favorite shows are feasible.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537078)

"People thought communicators were way to far out too when TOS came out. Now we take them for granted."

er... transporters maybe, but most people in 1966 were pretty familiar with radio... and funnily enough, even the idea of sending pictures over the air, since that's how they watched the show.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537218)

I think communicators were TOS form of a cell phone not a radio or TV.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537102)

Exactly. Same thing with light sabers, and now you can buy one online for $200, and go start carving people up (albeit a bit slowly with this generation ... the next generation should pretty much have nailed the tecnology though, just as cell phones are not quite communicators capable of reaching our orbital ships).

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537198)

If by next generation you mean the next generation of the human species... There is this annoying problem with lasers that they tend to not really stop until they hit something. Make them as powerful as you want, until we crack how to make light "expire" any time you fire up your human slicer/dicer it will also slice/dice whatever else is around you too. Perhaps one case where a glass house is a good idea. And then, we need it form a beam that behaves as a force field and/or solid object (to allow for dramatic duels.)

Crack those little catches, oh and increase the power by about ten thousand fold at least, and you might have something like a Light Saber.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537386)

I'd say that given they can burn flesh now, they are probably only 10x power from carving through it. Ending the beam seems like a job for a transparent length of carbon nanotube fibers ending in a dispersant point (or reflectors if you want to conserve power). Really, the engineering problems seem entirely solvable at this point (expensively), and the cost will be coming down fast.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536910)

It makes sense, but seems overly impractical due to the sheer energy or mass involved with a black hole. It'd be fun to see what would happen if the static forces were able to push photons hard enough to kick them out of the gravity well. I don't buy the bit about angular momentum so readily, I think the mass would then need to be flying off the sides of the black hole ~ impractical to get that much kinetic energy when you're adding more mass.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537362)

I don't think we're talking about black holes measured in solar masses. However, if it's possible for a naked black hole to exist, we might be able to feed and disrobe a small primordial black hole or micro black hole formed through high energy collisions.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536918)

Christ, you always make the most asinine comments. It's almost impressive.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536958)

yeah, I didn't look at the maths either.

Re:look, i like making fun of star trek technobabb (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537206)

LUDDITE!, LUDDITE! Someone get me the rope & torches!! :D

Bounce a gravition beam.. (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537278)

Off the main deflector dish;
That's the way do things lad;
just makin' shit up as we wish.

The klingons and the romulans,
they pose no threat to us!
'Cause when we find, we're in a bind;
we just make some shit up

Whaazzaaaa? (1, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536870)

What they would like is a way to get rid of the event horizon so that they can see what goes on behind it.

Am I understanding this? We don't really know how black holes work, but we know the event horizon is the point where light and other matter stop "coming out the other side", and in order to see what's on the other side, they want to dstroy a black hole?

two things...

Thing 1: head asplode

Thing 2: How is this a good thing to do? Aren't they basically stating that they don't understand how or why this is occurring, but they want to destroy something to figure out what goes on behind it? When are they planning to do this? December 21st, 2012?

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (5, Insightful)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536964)

Thing 2: How is this a good thing to do? Aren't they basically stating that they don't understand how or why this is occurring, but they want to destroy something to figure out what goes on behind it? When are they planning to do this? December 21st, 2012?

They're scientists and engineers. "Break something to see how it works" is how scientists and engineers of all walks of life think. They're just thinking bigger than most. I gotta salute them for that.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537322)

Engineers don't concern themselves with this BS. Theoretical Physicists and other loonies rave about this nonsense, while engineers focus on actually developing APPLICABLE technology to solve ACTUAL PROBLEMS in the real world, the one we live on. We deal with scientists in this fashion: "That's a great discovery, what can we do with it?" We also typically don't break things to see how they work. We see how they work by observing them working. We break things to understand how they fail, and how it can be prevented in the future. Does not apply to a black hole, IMO.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537002)

When are they planning to do this?

Never. Theorizing that there may be a way to overcome an event horizon and actually overcoming it are quite different.
How are they going to "feed it angular momentum and charge"? Magic?

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537132)

Fire mass at it at an angle, and for the mass, use plasma? Charge and angular momentum doesn't seem very hard to me. The hard part is reaching the nearest black hole to do it.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (2, Funny)

Xacid (560407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537200)

Just don't cross the streams.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537104)

When are they planning to do this? December 21st, 2012?

Seeing as we are roughly 1600 light years away from the nearest black hole, I'd say that is quite unlikely.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537462)

1600 light years away from the nearest black hole

The nearest black hole that we know about.

It's been theorized that the universe is crawling with rogue primordial black holes. Hell some people even think the Tunguska event was caused by a black hole.

Obviously we're not going to be able to carry out this experiment in the next decade, but if we ever manage to sustained space exploration, finding and feeding a small black hole might be high on the list of experiments.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537116)

Well think of what the military types are thinking. If this device can destroy a black hole, Imagine what it can do if used on our enemies.

I am thinking if this device can destroy a black hole, this planet we are on would also be destroyed if the device was used here.

How about we get space travel to be a common as walking across the room. Then we get people (from Earth) living on different planets and living long term on space ships. Then we find an out of the way black hole to try this on. By the time we can do all of this, a few thousand years will have gone by. Hopefully humans are smarter by then.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

2names (531755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537460)

Hopefully humans are smarter by then.

Trust me, Snake, they aren't.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537144)

Thing 1: We don't know what lies behind the event horizon, since nothing (no light, no radio waves, no physical objects, no information) can come out. It's a one-way gate. Theory is all well and good, but the only way to find out for sure what is on the other side would be to remove or disrupt the event horizon. Scientists by their very nature aren't the kind of people who can fail to see what's inside a black hole, given the opportunity.

Thing 2: "When are they planning to do this?" Well, for starters there aren't any black holes that it would be even possible to reach by 2012, and the kind of mass/energy manipulation we'd have to do to impart significant angular momentum on something a dozen times as massive as the sun... well, it's not in the near future. In short, they aren't planning to do this, just thinking about how they *could* do it if they had a convenient black hole and near-enough limitless energy.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (1)

BigBlueOx (1201587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537146)

Fret not, young one, this is just how things get done. You see, the whole damn universe was written in COBOL and we don't have the source code so any module we don't understand has to be disassembled. Hopefully, after disassembly we'll be able to make some sense out of what's going on. Once we understand everything in the universe, we can re-write it in Erlang.

Re:Whaazzaaaa? (2, Interesting)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537310)

Well, theoretically, (unless the theory has changed) during the big bang matter could have been compressed past the Swartzschild radius due to pressure and black-holes formed that mass much less than is required for a black hole to form today from gravity alone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primordial_black_hole [wikipedia.org] Most of these will have evaporated by now (or maybe not depending on how you interpret the string theory), but if they can exist there should still be a great many of these in the universe. We know that a black hole can carry a charge, and the surface gravity can be calculated. It is possible that there may be some of these in the solar system, perhaps in many years we will discover a way to detect them, and increase their charge to the point where they could be manipulated electromagnetically.

PDF a virus? (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536872)

Why am I getting a DEP when trying to open that PDF link?

Re:PDF a virus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536914)

Maybe Acrobat is a piece of garbage that corrupts itself?

Till then.... (1)

cyberoidx (1826932) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536874)

Someday, They'll find a way to actually go and feed a black hole all that charge and angular momentum. I'd like to be stored in a cryogenic storage till that day.

maybe it already happened? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537118)

"Charge and angular momentum" aren't that hard to come by near supermassive black holes, after all - massive accretion disk certainly can add angular momentum; and with large part of it being ionized one way or another, we might have appropriate charge in some cases...

What if naked singularity would turn out to be behind quasars; generally some unusually active cores of galaxies or relativistic jets?

Totally cool! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536894)

This is just damned neat. Destroy a black hole! Observe a singularity! Watch the cosmos bend into itself! Or...?

The best science is the stuff that ends in a big question mark. e.e. cummings nailed it on the head: "always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question."

Oh well (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536936)

I thought this was another story about somebody wanting to nuke the Gulf of Mexico.

I know what's inside. (5, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536942)

All of my lost left sox.

Two bolts from my motorcycle.

The lost chord.

George Bush's dignity.

Several B-19s last seen headed towards Bermuda.

An iPhone 4G prototype.

Darl McBride's balls.

And I'm sure there's more.

Re:I know what's inside. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537108)

Boobies!

Many believe that 'naked' singularities cannot exist in nature.
That's because conservatives smother them with FUD, hyperbole and litigation before they can be revealed.

Re:I know what's inside. (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537142)

Huh? Are you suggesting that Darl McBride actually once had balls?

Or that George Bush actually once had dignity?

Re:I know what's inside. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537276)

He had to have..... insanity isn't a defense in civil litigation.

Re:I know what's inside. (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537476)

I would have thought that telling the world things that he knew to be outright lies would have taken some massive balls. And he played it to the hilt, all the way through, even as it all came down around his head. Oh, right, that's not big balls, that's just insanity. My mistake.

Re:I know what's inside. (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537264)

You forgot the 18 minute gap on the Watergate tapes. Oh yeah, and the 4323 ball point pens I misplaced.

Re:I know what's inside. (2, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537366)

- My glasses

I can't see them ANYWHERE I look, so that is the only place left they could be

Re:I know what's inside. (1, Troll)

dragonsomnolent (978815) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537470)

As a Moody Blues fan, your list struck a chord with me (I don't care if the pun is horrible, I've got karma to burn)

Just wait a little while... (0)

SloWave (52801) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536944)

and the event horizon should just disappear due to Hawking_radiation [wikipedia.org] and Black_hole_evaporation [wikipedia.org] leaving a naked singularity.

Re:Just wait a little while... (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536996)

I don't think that results in a Naked Singularity... it results in its annihilation.

Re:Just wait a little while... (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537152)

Hawking Radiation would cause the blackhole to get smaller and smaller, and with it the diameter of the event horizon, you wouldn't get a naked blackhole.

Re:Just wait a little while... (4, Informative)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537246)

Although no one knows what happens at the end point of black hole evaporation it is unlikely it would leave a naked singularity since the mass of the singularity is what is being 'evaporated'. Besides, even if there was a naked singularity around just before the thing evaporates it would be kicking out so much energy you wouldn't be able to get anywhere near it. A 1kg black hole evaporating would release the equivalent energy to a large thermonuclear weapon in a fraction of a second.

Re:Just wait a little while... (1)

Ktistec Machine (159201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537554)

Black holes that evaporate due to Hawking radiation don't leave behind a naked singularity. They're just gone.

IANAA (1)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536948)

Isn't the event horizon the point at which the gravitational pull of a black hole becomes so powerful that not even light can escape? How on earth will feeding the black hole more mass make the event horizon go away? I thought more mass meant more gravity..

Re:IANAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537158)

The issue with a black hole is the density of the mass, not the mass itself. Feeding it more, but less dense mass to reduce overall density might allow for the disappearance of the event horizon. (Disclaimer: This is a severely dumbed-down way of explaining the math in the PDF.)

Re:IANAA (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537188)

Yes, but its gravity on our side of the event horizon which should pull the event horizon towards the mass perhaps opening a window in the event horizon.

I could be very wrong.

Get us out of here, Scotty. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536966)

Get us out of here, Scotty...

Will it fly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32536994)

"According to the mathematics of general relativity" --- this is where i think it'll be a problem.
According to the same math, gold should be sparkly white, and yet it isn't.

Not everything that math spits out happens, for one reason or the other.

Experiment away, I'm glad someone is. Let's just not get carried away: paper != experimentation

CERN will definitely want to get in on this one... (1)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32536998)

So they can actually SEE how the earth was destroyed by the LHC. I mean, if you go to all that trouble to destroy our planet, don't you want everyone to SEE your handiwork?

You'd get blasted with raw energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537004)

Peel back an Event Horizon? Get blasted with Radiation/Exotic particles,etc... Um just think what happens to the axis area... They are evaporating just not in a observable curvature that we can understand or detect.

Hey Hawkins back me up on this...

Re:You'd get blasted with raw energy (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537290)

Peel back an Event Horizon? Get blasted with Radiation/Exotic particles,etc... Um just think what happens to the axis area... They are evaporating just not in a observable curvature that we can understand or detect.

Hey Hawkins back me up on this...

<robotic voice> that's what she said. ha. ha. ha.

Create a Naked Singularity and ... (1)

rcpitt (711863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537008)

Steve Jobs won't allow you to discuss it or show it on your iPhone/Pad

And the Australian Government will track every time you mention it in e-mail or surf the web to the site

But scifi writers already knew this! (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537010)

See? The writers of StarGate SG-1 already knew this when they wrote the 200th episode, which had the line: "The singularity is about to explode!"

...I really need a life, don't I?

Re:But scifi writers already knew this! (2, Interesting)

Unordained (262962) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537368)

And yet, a small / primordial-enough black hole, after evaporating down to (and just below) its critical mass, could be seen as exploding back into flat-space, no? So the phrase could make sense?

Gee, a little racist there? (4, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537012)

Since light cannot escape the event horizon, it must be black.

Right, because anyone imprisoned anywhere must be black, because only blacks break the law and get locked up.

Re:Gee, a little racist there? (0, Troll)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537086)

You do realize that, within the realm of astrophysics, the term "light" typically refers to any sort of electromagnetic radiation? People in a pitch-black prison are still quite visible in terms of all the other wavelengths of "light" they emit and reflect.

Unless this post was a troll, in which case: stfu, gtfo, and diaf.

Re:Gee, a little racist there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537230)

woosh

Re:Gee, a little racist there? (2, Funny)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537328)

People in a pitch-black prison are still quite visible in terms of all the other wavelengths of "light" they emit and reflect.

Vin Diesel would like to disprove you.

Re:Gee, a little racist there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537376)

It was a joke, retard. A funny one too.

Re:Gee, a little racist there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537392)

That's mighty light of you. ;)

Re:Gee, a little racist there? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537496)

So, if we change the name to !white will that make you happy?

Something I was wondering (4, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537018)

I once read a bit about black holes, and one of the things I read was: a black hole doesn't necessarily have to be very dense. It can also be sparse (and the larger, the sparser it can be). For example, if you'd take a lot of stars and planets, and put them together (but not too close together), then at one point if you make this large enough, it'll also be a black hole: there appears an event horizon around all this matter. But inside of it are still stars with gaps between them, maybe some planets orbiting around them, ... So now I wonder, if the above is true: can someone live inside that? Would there be any noticeable difference between being inside of that, and the other side (the outside) of this event horizon?

Re:Something I was wondering (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537148)

I think Slashdot had an article a few months ago, regarding a new theory that hypothesized our known universe actually existing within a giant black hole. Or was it inside a wormhole? It might have been the latter, given that black holes are, by definition, exceedingly dense. I've never heard of "sparse" black holes before, since they have to be dense in order to form in the first place.

In theory, yes. (4, Informative)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537226)

One of the problems with approaching a black hole (aside from massive amounts of radiation around ones actively eating matter) is the fact that the force of gravity increases as you approach the mass responsible for the gravity.

With small black holes, as you approach (feet first) the difference in gravitational pull at your feet would be many times larger than the gravitational pull at your head. You would be literally ripped apart, down to the molecular level. This is known as "Spaghettification".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaghettification [wikipedia.org]

However, with a large enough black hole, you should be able to pass the event horizon before these tidal forces grow large enough to rip you apart. Of course, this does you no good, because once you are inside the event horizon you cannot exert a great enough force to prevent yourself from falling deeper until the forces ARE great enough to rip you apart.

But for a large black hole, in theory, you could cross the event horizon without being ripped apart.

Re:In theory, yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537538)

once you are inside the event horizon you cannot exert a great enough force to prevent yourself from falling deeper until the forces ARE great enough to rip you apart.

So the answer to whether we can have long-term living conditions inside an event horizon seems to be 'no'.

Re:Something I was wondering (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537294)

If you go inside the event horizon (i.e. where we can't see what's going on), regardless how big the black hole is, it is still inevitable that what goes in, must continue going in until it approaches the singularity, or whatever is there where our laws of physics break down. I use to look at the event horizon as something that is per definition the border where things mustn't go in, and where it must. So I don't think that environment is stable enough for life to thrive in; it'd inevitably enter the singularity.

I've also read what you have however -- that more massive black holes suck you in less "forcefully", if you were to approach it.

Re:Something I was wondering (3, Interesting)

quercus.aeternam (1174283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537356)

It seems to me that in order for an established orbit to exist on the event horizon, the orbiting matter would have to be going at the speed of light. I would further presume that any matter orbiting within the event horizon would have to be /exceeding/ the speed of light.

To my knowledge, matter cannot travel at or beyond the speed of light.

Really? (2, Insightful)

Tarchan (1021797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537046)

I thought that the event horizon of a black hole was caused by the immense gravity of the main body. Just an area of space around the black hole where light would be unable to maintain enough momentum to escape the gravitational pull of the singularity. I don't even want to try understanding the calculations that this theory was derived from. If you were able to remove the event horizon, would that not mean that you would be destroying the singularity itself?

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537190)

The singularity is a lie. By which I mean, it's not as if this mass is all really in one infinitesimal dot...it's just that you do any characterization of that mass when even light can't escape. So no, you wouldn't be destroying the singularity since we don't really know that's what it is, but, if they do happen to change the black hole by adding charge and angular momentum, and it allows radiation to escape it will cease to be a black hole.

I would like to find a black hole that's just barely massive enough and then try this.

Finally, I think they're just trying to do a thought experiment whereby they change the shape or topology of the event horizon. Imagine a toroidal event horizon for example.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537580)

I'm not an expert on this by any means, but here's my two cents...

Try not to think of it in terms of light trying to escape in a straight line and just not being strong enough to do it. Instead, think of the straight line as not being straight. Gravity wells curve space-time (a Google Images search for "spacetime" will yield some familiar diagrams of spheres resting on a fabric), and the event horizon of a singulatiry is the point in that curvature where it's so "steep" that it curves back in upon itself. This is difficult to show in the aforementioned diagrams, because it's less about the picture and more about the math behind it.

Basically, from behind the event horizon it's impossible to escape not because you don't have enough force to get away but because all paths lead back to the singularity.

If somebody with more knowledge/expertise on the subject can correct/elaborate, please do.

A little perspective here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537052)

While I definitely love thought experiments, and the subsequent mathematics of cutting edge physics, this isn't a realistic goal of even remote exploration.

Let's say we get the math right within a short time frame, and it's possible to peal away the Event Horizon. The closest Black Hole is 1600 Light-years away.

Like I said, I love the possibilities of physics, and where it may take us, but we have more pressing things to take care of. If this math somehow translates to more immediately implementable engineering concepts, all the better. I just don't see getting too excited over this when we have yet to increase are net efficiency as a species. And isn't that kind of the concept with new cutting edge physics aside from getting an adequate model for the Universe? Increase our effective energy usage as a whole? And I'm not referring to Nuclear Reactors either

I dont know about anyone else but.... (5, Insightful)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537068)

I sure am dumb

Re:I dont know about anyone else but.... (4, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537486)

Understanding the limits of your own knowledge is the furst step on the path to +3 insightfulness.

Naked Event Horizon (3, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537074)

We always hear about singularities necessitating event horizons, but the converse is most certainly not true. An event horizon may exist without a singularity inside of it.

It depends on scale more than anything. Small black holes almost certainly require a singularity, but a black hole the mass of a galactic cluster actually has a very low average density. So while at the event horizon space-time is very much distorted, on the inside it may not be distorted enough to overcome common everyday forces (the trick of treating a collection of mass as a point source of force doesnt work from inside that collection of mass)

Re:Naked Event Horizon (1)

Unordained (262962) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537406)

Exactly -- why go into space for zero gravity, when we've got an area of zero gravity right here inside our own planet? We should drill down, not rocket up!

Re:Naked Event Horizon (3, Insightful)

doesnothingwell (945891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537546)

but a black hole the mass of a galactic cluster actually has a very low average density. So while at the event horizon space-time is very much distorted, on the inside it may not be distorted enough to overcome common everyday forces (the trick of treating a collection of mass as a point source of force doesnt work from inside that collection of mass)

Now my brain hurts, could we already be inside an enormous black hole?

The horizon is not fixed (1, Informative)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537156)

Photons cannot escape because they are red-shifted due to time dilation. This means that the horizon will vary depending on the level of energy trying to escape it. For example, an X-ray might escape where an infra-red photon wouldn't. All or part of a huge energy blast may or may not escape, depending on its frequency, level and position. Whether it would affect the hole itself seems problematic.

Great! (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537180)

Let's get started and throw Alaska into the black hole that is New Jersey!

Translation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537208)

Send all Niggers to the black hole, that'll take care of it.

G0 AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY 0R
WASTE YOUR G0DDAMNED M0D P0INTS
FUCKTARDED SHITD0T SHEEPLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537212)

On mythbusters, they normally run a scale test, before deploying. I suggest that someone create a small scale stable black hole, and test the theory. If it looks plausible, then let's pick a black hole (suggest: center of milky way) and see if this works. Report back when done please.

Fiendish calculations? (0)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537240)

Oh, come on... all you have to do is divide by zero! ... no, wait, that's how we got black holes in the first place... well, multiply by infinity, then.

Would the event horizon retreat if you approached? (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537256)

Hello,

    Suppose you were falling into a black hole, and you didn't get turned into spaghetti (as might be possible if you're approaching the event horizon of a supermassive black hole). Would the event horizon seem to retreat before you? I mean, light can't escape a black hole's event horizon as we see it, but if you're falling in, wouldn't you be able to see further into the black hole as you fall?

--PM

Re:Would the event horizon retreat if you approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537374)

Hello,

    Suppose you were falling into a black hole, and you didn't get turned into spaghetti (as might be possible if you're approaching the event horizon of a supermassive black hole). Would the event horizon seem to retreat before you? I mean, light can't escape a black hole's event horizon as we see it, but if you're falling in, wouldn't you be able to see further into the black hole as you fall?

--PM

without knowing anything about any of this, that wouldn't make sense unless you were going faster than the light that's also being sucked in.

Easy! (1)

Evildonald (983517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537274)

Just get BP to pump hydraulic fluid into it. That HAS to work!

Strange (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537312)

Didn't the last Star Trek movie already prove that you only need some bad writing to destroy one?

turtles all the way down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537326)

The event horizon is like where reality has hit a divide by zero error. Things just stop making sense. That's great these scientists think they've figured out a way to sneak a peak in there, but I doubt the human mind can make sense out of a "place" where the fundamental logic of math breaks down.

I think this is more about making physical cosmology sexy. At the next cocktail party these guys are going to chat up every girl with talk of their exiting work probing black holes... I can see it now: "I'll show you my naked singularity if you let me in your black hole".

Oh no... (5, Funny)

Tenek (738297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537518)

liberate tutamae ex inferis

Wow! But can they stop an oil leak? (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537528)

I understand that this is important science, but what a weird gap in scientific knowledge when we are considering how to collapse a black hole when we can't stop the damn oil leak. Maybe we should get some of these guys involved.
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