General Question

flutherother's avatar

Is the singularity at the centre of a black hole subject to quantum effects and would they influence the event horizon?

Asked by flutherother (21766 points ) March 6th, 2014

The singularity seems fixed in position and size but being very small it should be subject to quantum uncertainty and I wondered what this might mean for the singularity itself and for the black hole’s event horizon

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6 Answers

ETpro's avatar

I don’t see how we could know given current methods of measurement. We can’t see inside the event horizon because that’s the point beyond which light cannot escape. So the event horizon appears as an impenetrable globe surrounding the black hole.

The laws of physics can’t be in effect inside a singularity, because the conditions there violate them. Light has no speed. Density of mass approaches infinity. Our laws explode in our paces when fed conditions like these.

Bill1939's avatar

Space is compressed by mass (concentrated energy) and time slowed. The laws of physics as we understand them seem to be violated by a black hole’s singularity. Time appears to stop and mass becomes infinite. My conjecture is that time inside a black hole is stretched proportionate to the decreased space. Assuming the validity of Planck’s constants, a Planck singularity is the smallest amount of space possible and the time it takes for a photon to travel one Planck length is not changed. Only the measurement of time is changed.

flutherother's avatar

Thanks for your answers. What happens at the singularity is not properly understood but I think it must obey laws of physics which we don’t yet fully understand. The singularity can’t be seen directly but it manifests itself through the event horizon which we can try to understand. To understand what is going on will require a theory that unifies relativity and quantum mechanics. That’s what makes Black Holes so interesting.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

(lick..one…lick…two…lick…three…crunch!) The world may never know…

Any singularity, in addition to being subject to quantum uncertainty, is also subject to general uncertainty. Since no one has ever “objectively” observed a black hole, we just “figure” they exist. It might be that they only exist in theory! (Enter Schrödinger’s cat)

ETpro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser While we can’t directly observe black holes, they are rather like the wind. We can’t see it, but we can measure and feel its effects. We can observe the effects of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It gives our galaxy order and binds it together in its elegant spiral form with the noticeable bulge at its center. We can observe that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of many massive galaxies. There are some that do not have them. M33 is a large, nearby galaxy without a supermassive black hole. We are able to observe differences its lack causes.

We can also observe some smaller black holes left over from the gravitational collapse of a supermassive star. We cannot see the black hole itself, but we can see its gravitational effects on nearby objects and often detect massive radiation emissions from the heated gasses that swirl around its event horizon as they are sucked in.

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