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Black holes. Philip Freeman Roberta Tevlin. Curiouser and Curiouser What are black holes?. Can you get there from here? Do black holes really form ? How?. Seeing is believing (maybe) Observing Black Holes. first… (no, not a word from our sponsors).

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Black holes

Black holes

Philip Freeman

Roberta Tevlin


Curiouser and CuriouserWhat are black holes?

Can you get there from here? Do black holes really form? How?

Seeing is believing (maybe) Observing Black Holes


First no not a word from our sponsors
first… (no, not a word from our sponsors)

What do we already know about Black Holes?



Everything i need to know about physics i learned from movies
Everything I need to know about physicsI learned from movies….

  • There is a video that goes here, but I have taken it from the slide show for fear of crashing things. You can find the youtube clip.

  • <play video in player>

  • Try searching “Planet Vulcan owned by Black Hole”


What would happen if the sun became a black hole
What would happen if the Sun became a black hole?

  • The sun could not become a black hole due to any known process, but suppose some special effect turns the sun into a black hole RIGHT NOW.

  • What would happen? Looking at that answer can help us understand our existing understanding of black holes.

Concept Test

Whiteboard Exercise


Concept Test

Which path would the earth follow right after the sun was turned into a black hole?

B

A

Before

C

D


The sun’s mass is the same, so there is no change in gravity.

Therefore there is no change in the earth’s orbit!

A


Help! The gravitational pull of something with 1/10th the mass of a hemoglobin molecule is destroying the planet!

The fears some people had about the LHC are rooted in the same idea.


So what is a black hole really
So… what is a black hole really? special/extra forces that “suck in” everything.

  • And what are they like?


The big idea a history of the concept
The Big Idea: A history of the special/extra forces that “suck in” everything.concept

  • Classical Black Holes (dark stars)

  • Outlandish Results from Relativity

    • (Why are black holes so impossibly weird, and three impossible ways to think about them!)


Newton s gravitation
Newton’s gravitation special/extra forces that “suck in” everything.

  • If light is made out of ‘corpuscles’ (little bits)

  • Then gravity should affect light

  • And since light has a finite speed…

  • If a star is big enough light will not be able to escape!

     A DARK STAR!



Light can t escape if r is small enough
Light can’t escape if r is small enough can’t escape!

Notice how light particles slow down and fall back into the star?

Does that seem a bit odd?


At first the idea that light was a wave seemed to make all this irrelevant
At first the idea that light was a wave seemed to make all this irrelevant

  • Michell (1783), Laplace (1796): “Look! Particles of light can’t escape from a really big star!”

  • Young (1803) “But light’s a wave.”

  • Everybody: “Oh, never mind!”

  • Einstein (1916): “But light’s still affected by gravity!”

  • Everybody: Woah… weird!!


Einstein showed that gravitation causes or more precisely gravity is a slowing down of time
Einstein showed that gravitation causes (or more precisely gravity IS) a ‘slowing down’ of time.

If the field is strong enough (well, actually if the potential is ‘deep’ enough) then time stops!

(and if that wasn’t bad enough, past that point gravity is so strong that nothing can stop things from collapsing to a mathematical point… which seems a bit small, even in times when there’s so much downsizing!)

Extra: Brief into to General Relativity


Inside a gravitational field time is slowed
Inside a gravitational field time is slowed gravity

Compared to this clock

This clock is slower

Equations


Being deeper in a gravitational well slows down time
being deeper in a gravitational “well” slows down time! gravity

  • With a strong enough field time is STOPPED

  • Stronger still and… what??


Singularities
Singularities? gravity

  • The GR equations ‘blow up’ for strong fields!

    • At a certain radius (the “Event Horizon”) time as seen from the outside STOPS. This radius is the most fundamental description of the black hole.

    • Deep inside everything goes to infinity, and nothing makes any sense!

“Black Holes are Where God Divided by Zero”


Falling into a black hole don t try this at home
Falling into a black hole gravity (don’t try this at home)

Help!

The closer you get the slower time goes

I’ve fallen

And I c a n ’ t

G e t

Ouu…

At least as seen from OUTSIDE


But this is not the whole picture
But this is not the whole picture gravity

The way in which objects seem to freeze (and fade out) as we watch from outside lead to an early misunderstanding about black holes, and an earlier name for them: the “Frozen Star”.

Collasing star slows and “freezes” at the event horizon:


Another viewpoint
Another viewpoint: gravity

  • One of the things than changed this view was the discovery of a description that followed the infalling star, rather than standing back and watching from outside.

  • From this point of view things look very different, and the ‘freezing’ does not mean things stop!


An analogy
An Analogy gravity

And the observers suffered only briefly!


Going over niagara falls with no barrel
Going over Niagara falls with no barrel: gravity

  • Imagine you are going over a waterfall. You send messages out by attaching them to fish (like homing pigeons… just go with it!)and sending them upstream to your friends:


From outside
From outside: gravity

  • You will send out the fish at a regular frequency (Tweets? Blubs?):

From outside the fish arrive one after the other, but as the water flows faster they are slowed down going upstream so they start to be spaced further apart.


A message horizon
A message horizon: gravity

  • Eventually the water is flowing as fast as the fish can swim, so it no longer gets anywhere, it just swims as fast as it can in one place:

The message horizon…

Last message to arrive (very late)

Any further messages go down the falls with you…

This fish swims in one place


What happens as you go over the fall is dependent on who is observing it
What happens as you go over the fall is dependent on who is observing it!

  • What do your friends upriver observe on the basis of your fish signals as you go over the falls?

  • The fish-signals from the observer going over the falls arrive with lower and lower frequency, until they stop altogether. But this does not mean that the observer is stopped at the message horizon, only that the last message is.

  • What do you observe yourself as you go over the falls?

This could be a bit subtle, so let’s try a “think, pair, share” on this one!

  • Think about it for a minute

  • Then we’ll signal for you to pair up with another participant and see if you agree

  • Then we’ll discuss it together briefly.


What happens at the event horizon is dependent on who is observing it
What happens at the event horizon is dependent on who is observing it!

  • Just like the fish-signals you sent as you went over a waterfall, the frequency of light signals is decreased as you fall in.

  • The difference here is that the fishes swim more slowly, but light always travels at the same speed… it loses energy instead (the gravitational red-shift).

  • Also… those light signals are tied to the nature of time, while the fish-signals are not. (People who fish may feel differently about that last)

  • But the analogy is pretty good despite that.

There is a full mathematical treatment, called the Gullstrand-Painlevé metric, which describes black holes in exactly this way!


How is it that your messages slow down and stop but time doesn t stop for you as you fall in
How is it that Your messages slow down and stop… but time doesn’t stop for YOU as you fall in?

As you fall into a black hole your time as seen by you and your time as seen by an outside (non-falling) observer seem to be really different!

What’s with that?

Well, remember from Special Relativity that differences in time were due to two observers’ time axes pointing in different directions.

Time axis 1

Time axis 2


No escape
No escape: doesn’t stop

As you cross the event horizon your time axis is tipped so much that it now points AT THE CENTRE OF THE BLACK HOLE

You can no more point your ship away from the singularity than you can drive your car away from tomorrow!


Frozen star vs black hole
Frozen star doesn’t stop vs black hole

Dynamic(but doomed)

Static(and kinda boring)


At the centre the singularity
At the centre: The singularity doesn’t stop

The event horizon is a critical and extreme place, but inside is stranger yet.

At the centre of the black hole is the point where time is directed and where time ends.

A single mathematical point which sooner or later (whatever that means in this context) contains everything that has ever fallen across the horizon.

This is the SINGULARITY

“Black Holes are Where God Divided by Zero”


Three ways to think about the black hole s event horizon
Three ways to think about the black hole’s event horizon doesn’t stop

  • Warped spacetime (time axis switches to “inward”)

  • Point of no return (escape velocity > c)

  • Infallingspacetime(homing fish)

Extra: Why is this everybody’s picture of a black hole?


More ways to think about the unthinkable
More ways to think about the unthinkable doesn’t stop

We’ve already looked briefly at a black hole as an extreme of warped spacetime… but this is pretty tricky if we aren’t comfortable with general relativity (ok, it’s pretty tricky even if you are… )!

Multiple models can help us to understand by giving different angles on the issues, so let’s briefly review two other models we looked at for event horizons. There are more!


Three ways to think about black hole event horizons doesn’t stop

See More

See More

Models help us think, but they also SHAPE our thinking!


So what is a black hole
SO… What IS a Black Hole? doesn’t stop

  • Form when enough mass-energy is within a small enough radius (Schwarzschild radius)

  • Contain singularities (places where spacetime stops existing -- whatever that means!)

  • Are surrounded by event horizons, so that these singularies can’t be seen (cosmic censorship)


Anatomy of a very simple black hole
Anatomy of a very simple black hole: doesn’t stop

Now that we understand the importance of the event horizon, let’s look at a very simple black hole and its anatomy.

A black hole with no charge or spin is called a Schwarzschild black hole.

It is totally describable by its Schwarzschild radius.


A cautionary note
A cautionary note: doesn’t stop

We call the Schwarzschild radius the “radius of the black hole” all the time, but this is clearly not right. What would happen if you tried to measure the radius of a black hole’s event horizon?

Even this is fanciful… you couldn’t really even push it in. When lowered from the outside the ruler is ‘piling up in time’ near the horizon!


Anatomy of a very simple black hole1
Anatomy of a very simple black hole: doesn’t stop

Well Outside:Gravity is more-or-less normal.

Photon sphere: Here light would orbit the black hole!

Inside photon sphere:There are no stable orbits here. Fire your engines like the dickens to get out!

Event horizon: no return past this point

Inside: Your time axis is now pointed at the singularity.

Singularity: where spacetime ends… Here be dragons!

Schwarzschild Black Hole


Summary anatomy of a very simple black hole
Summary: Anatomy of a very simple black hole: doesn’t stop

Event horizon: no return past this point

Photon sphere: Here light would orbit the black hole!

Inside: strong and erratic tidal effects (mixmaster physics)

Singularity: where spacetime ends… Here be not yet understood quantum effects

Here Be DRAGONS

Schwarzschild Black Hole


How much more complex can a black hole get
How much more complex can a black hole get? doesn’t stop

  • Answer: not a lot.

  • Black holes have no detailed structure, only mass, charge, and spin.All other details are ‘radiated away’, leaving a uniform event horizon with no detail, summed up by the statement that:

  • “BLACK HOLES HAVE NO HAIR!”.


Spinning and or charged black holes
Spinning and/or charged black holes doesn’t stop

  • If a black hole is spinning and/or has charge then the picture is a little (but only a little) more complex.

Event horizon(s) (one outer, one inner)

`

Ergosphere: There is no ‘standing still’ in this region, everything must rotate with the hole

Besides…

But we have to draw the line somewhere or this presentation will never end!

Extra: More on effects near a black hole

Singularity

Extra: A VERY short mention of deeper results

There are a LOT of dragons!


There is more we could look at but for now it is time to go on
There is more we could look at, but for now it is time to go on…

Extra: Some black hole connections

Continue to:Do black holes really form, and how?


Making a black hole
Making a Black Hole on…

Black holes are very outlandish things! You well might ask yourself whether they could really exist.


Are there really such things as black holes
are there REALLY such things as black holes? on…

  • None of this would matter if black holes never actually formed… and for a long time that’s what people thought…

  • ‘Maybe the equations describe that, but in reality something will keep it from happening.’(this is what physicists currently think about white holes and some other concepts, so it isn’t a trivial point)

We now know that black holes will indeed form, even under real ‘imperfect’ conditions.


Concept test
Concept Test on…

Which of the following will create a black hole (you may indicate more than one)

A star like the sun

A star that starts off 4 times as massive as the sun

A star that starts off 40 times as massive as the sun

The large hadron collider


This is actually a very complicated question
This is actually a very complicated question! on…

  • The fate of a star depends on the mass left when it reaches its final end and cools down enough for collapse

  • Our best understanding of this is that:

This isn’t a great table because what happens to stars depends a lot on what mix of elements goes into them in their formation, so all ranges are suspect!

Extra: See some pretty graphs


Massive stars
Massive Stars on…

Inside a star there is a balance between gravitational pull and the outward pressure caused by heat.




Although stars loose mass during their lifetimes (and due to all that drama) there is a range of star sizes that will inevitably end up with final masses large enough to produce black holes.

Cygnus X-1, a black hole of about 15 solar masses with a visible companion


There are enough stars of the right size to form black holes. The resulting black holes will have masses around 2.4 to around 20 solar masses.

  • Smaller masses don’t form a black hole.

  • Really big stars supernova and loose enough mass that they aren’t so big anymore (though still probably enough to make black holes).

  • These are called “stellar mass” black holes, and there are some likely suspects out there.


Other things that could perhaps create black holes
Other things that could (perhaps) create black holes. holes. The resulting black holes will have masses around 2.4 to around 20 solar masses.

  • In the early universe (high densities allow random clumps to make mini-black holes).

  • High energy collisions could create teeny tiny black holes, briefly.(Note: If our current ideas are correct the LHC has only 0.0000000000001% of the energy needed for this)

  • As yet unknown processes?


Can new physics save the world from black holes
Can new physics save the world from black holes? holes. The resulting black holes will have masses around 2.4 to around 20 solar masses.

  • We know that we DON’T know how gravity works when quantum effects start to matter.

  • Could these effects (or other new physics) mean there are no black holes after all?

Quantum Gravity


But the conditions for black holes occur in realms where classical physics only need apply
But the conditions for black holes occur in realms where classical physics only need apply…

  • For large black holes there is nothing extreme about the conditions they would have to form under.

  • We know that there are things with masses large enough that they would have to become black holes eventually.

  • It seems there is no escaping the dragons!


Locating black holes
Locating black holes classical physics only need apply…

  • So, if black holes DO exist... How do we find them?

  • Let’s start with what they look like.


Whiteboard exercise
Whiteboard classical physics only need apply… exercise

What would you see, looking up at noon, if the sun really did implode into a black hole?

Describe or sketch on your white board.


The sky at noon post black hole
The sky at noon (post black hole) classical physics only need apply…

Regular night sky (except for season)


Why don t we see anything
Why don’t we see anything? classical physics only need apply…

  • Black holes are black

  • The sun would be a small black hole

  • Effects from intensity are significant only very close to event horizon (around 3km!)


From a distance
From a distance classical physics only need apply…

  • We already know that from the outside the black hole is no different than any other mass.

  • But because it is so much more compact things can get a lot more intense

  • And that makes for some more intense effects

  • But only up close.

So how do we spot them from far away?


1 black holes are messy eaters
1) Black holes are messy eaters! classical physics only need apply…

  • So, how can we identify a black hole if they are different only up close?

  • We look for stuff falling in!


Infalling material heated by friction and accelerated by twisted magnetic fields
Infalling classical physics only need apply… material heated by friction and accelerated by twisted magnetic fields

Jet

Accretion Disk


2 look for something very very small and massive
2 classical physics only need apply… ) Look for something very very small and massive!

  • Binary systems like Cygnus X-1 are strong candidates.


Galaxies may all have supermassive black holes at their centres
Galaxies: May all have supermassive black holes at their centres!

year

This is real data showing the positions of stars in the centre of our galaxy over 16 years of observation


A lot of mass in not much space
A lot of mass in not much space centres!

  • Fitted curves for this stellar motion near our galactic centre (SGR A*)

  • More than 4 million solar masses

  • In a space definitely smaller than the distance from the earth to the sun


So we know where to look for a really big black hole very close by
So we know where to look for a centres!REALLYBIG Black Hole Very close by!

  • We should be able to directly image Sgr A* within 10 years


Where can you use introduce these ideas in your teaching
Where can you use / introduce these ideas in your teaching? centres!

“It’s black and it looks like a hole. I’d say it’s a black hole.”


centres!END(Note that only a fraction of the slides will have been presented… do check out the resource when it is posted!)


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