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ETpro's avatar

Would an ordinary black hole attract antimatter?

Asked by ETpro (34605points) July 7th, 2013

This question follows up on yesterday’s black hole question, What happens when a black hole evaporates? The few black holes that I am familiar with are composed of ordinary matter, lots and lots of ordinary matter. So is the gravity produced by a massive black hole of ordinary matter attractive to antimatter, or would antimatter find the black hole repulsive? If antimatter considers ordinary matter black holes attractive, when a black hole eats a chunk of antimatter, does it get lighter for having done so? Would there be an internal explosion even if we could not see it beyond the event horizon?

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11 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Describe antimatter to me….

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. Antimatter has the same gravitational properties as matter.

PhiNotPi's avatar

The main question is whether or not antimatter falls up or falls down in gravity. If it falls downward (as predicted), then yes the black hole would attract antimatter. If it falls up, then black holes would repel it.

The current prediction is that antimatter behaves the same way in gravity as normal matter, although this is hard to experimentally verify.

The best experiment so far (here) says that the gravitational mass of an antihydrogen atom is somewhere between 110 and -65 times the inertial mass. This data is leaning in the positive (downward) direction, but the margin of error is huge.

ETpro's avatar

@ragingloli & @Rarebear Not so quick. A bit of googling will show that this is controversial in the world of physics, and @PhiNotPi‘s indication of the current state-of-the-art of experimental data is quite correct.

@livelaughlove21 Ha! Good one. I’m pretty sure THAT @antimatter would not find entering a black hole all that attractive, but that wouldn’t stop the black hole’s attrataction from pulling him in.

Rarebear's avatar

What is controversial?

mattbrowne's avatar

Matter and antimatter do not attract each in any different way different types of matter attract each other. This means that a black hole made of matter exerts a gravitational pull on outside matter or antimatter that comes near it.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear & @mattbrowne You might enjoy this article on work underway at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on just this question. In the broader spectrum, there is all this.

mattbrowne's avatar

I like the first article in particular. I wasn’t aware that testing gravity on antimatter atoms proves so difficult. And it seems we need to wait for the results of more experiments to confirm.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne My reading as well. And very counter intuitive for me.

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