Print 56 comment(s) - last by freeagle.. on Apr 14 at 12:30 PM

No Earth-imploding black holes at LHC this decade. Probably.

While (some of) the world watched the Large Hadron Collider power up, fault, power up again and ultimately land its first 7 TeV collisions, others may have gripped their armchairs tightly, waiting for the planet-destroying black hole that some claim the LHC is capable of creating. As one might be inclined to notice, the Earth has made it through the ordeal just fine.

However, whether these doomsday black hole concerns are credible or not, a pair of scientists from Princeton University and the University of British Columbia at Vancouver have been delving into the relativistic physics calculations just to see what might really happen. Matthew Choptuik from UBCV and Frans Pretorius from Princeton have done the grunt work to solve field equations related to soliton collisions at specific energies.

"Our calculation produced results that most were expecting, but no one had done the calculation before. People were just sort of assuming that it would work out. Now that these simulations have been done, some scientists will have a better idea of what to look for in terms of trying to see if black holes are formed in LHC collisions," explained Choptuik.

Based on string theory and its extra dimensions, Choptuik and Pretorious concluded that high-energy collisions at the LHC could indeed form black holes -- but the chances of them destroying the world are pale even in comparison to the chance that they would actually be detected by LHC equipment while they exist.

Of the events, Choptuik says, "Some are already taking this very seriously. However, I don’t think that we are likely to actually see any black holes at the LHC, even if it is possible."

Rather than directly observing such a formation, he explains that to confirm the existence of the fleeting matter-energy magnet, LHC scientists will have to study the debris from the collision rather than the particles that instantaneously exist and then disappear. A typical collision would leave jets of debris while the short-lived black hole would produce a more spherical pattern.

The duo's findings have been published in the journal 
Physical Review Letters, titled "Ultrarelativistic Particle Collisions."

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RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 11:08:54 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, they _do_ grow in size. Where do you think all that matter goes? Unless the broach the fabric of our Minkowski-space opening a door to another universe, the matter has to go somewhere.

Per the law of conservation of energy, energy is neither created nor destroyed, only converted from one state to another. Since mass and energy are exchangeable, converting one to another, it is inferrable that the matter either collects within the black hole or converts to energy within it, adding to its might.

Black holes do indeed grow larger, as there are many different sizes of these monstrosities, from microscopic all the way up to supermassive. Their size is not set in stone at their onset. The larger (well, more appropriately more dense) they are, the bigger their pull, as the dip in the space-time curve increases.

RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Black Holes
By ChronoReverse on 4/7/2010 3:59:10 PM , Rating: 3
Erm, radiation cannot escape the event horizon by definition.

Relativistic jets from blackholes originate from matter falling in before they cross the event horizon. Even Hawking radiation is emitted from the event horizon and not from beneath it (although funny quantum mechanics means the energy is "taken" from inside the black hole).

RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 4:34:55 PM , Rating: 3
This is why black holes emit massive amounts of x-ray's and other forms of radiation.

Wrong. Black holes, at least, once the matter passes the event horizon, emit _nothing_ at all except what Stephen Hawking theorized to be Hawking Radiation. Unfortunately, the amount of this radiation to be released is so small, it has never been observed from a black hole in deep space.

The only emission of x-rays you might see is from the accretion disc, or area surrounding the black hole, not beyond the event horizon, that is being ripped apart as it makes its way towards the event horizon. Once matter passes the event horizon, it is gone and there is no escape (except through weak Hawking radiation).

Except energy like radiation is NOT effected by gravity and escapes the event horizon.

Define energy. I think you are terribly confused. Energy takes many states, and, through the conversion of matter, could take the form of radiation as you suggest. Unfortunately, most of this radiation would be x-rays, gamma rays and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, which, can not escape from the event horizon; except as mentioned above in the form of hawking radiation which deals with thermal and black body radiation through quantum effects. Visible light can not escape a black hole--what do you think it is? It is visible electromagnetic radiation.

Black holes are just that, black holes. They suck things in and until recently, were thought to keep it forever. Hawking Radiation will slowly dissipate a black hole, but not with enough energy, nor fast enough for us to detect it.

If a black hole were to have an assumed M solar masses, it could take:

10^71 M^3 seconds for it to dissipate. I'm sorry, I fail to see your massive amount of x-rays being emitted.

Black Holes fed and grew larger, than there might not be much of a universe left to observe would there ?

What do you think the Big Bang was? (as it is theorized) Perhaps it was a black hole that grew to such a size that through instability, it collapsed unto itself releasing all the energy we see in our universe today (both in the form of energy and matter).

Black Holes do have a theorized maximum size, and, likewise, there are some nice equations to calculate how big they are. Their size is defined as a function of the radius of the event horizon. They do widely very in this size. Supermassive black holes can be as wide as 10 AU's, or ten times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The microscopic ones predicted to possibly form in the collider can be as small as a fraction of a millimeter.

They do vary in size, and, they are very hungry.

RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/7/2010 8:13:43 PM , Rating: 4
Dude, from the article you quote yourself, just a little bit more
As mentioned above, a large fraction of the energy released by the gas as it falls onto the black hole is converted into X-rays. It is thought that the X-rays come from material that is very close to the black hole (i.e. at distances of just a few times the event horizon size) . Observations with X-ray telescopes allow astronomers to test and measure the conditions in this very interesting region of space.

They clearly state those are X-rays from the matter outside of the event horizon, not from the inside. The x-rays do not escape from the inside of a black hole. They are just far enough from the black hole that their speed of light ( because they are light, with a different wavelength ) allows them to go out of the gravitational pull.

X-rays are made of the same thing as light - electromagnetic wave with different wavelenghts, which is, in the standard model, also represented by a photon particle ( as you can surely find, they can act and do act as both ).

No, he is not lying. The radiation he is referring to is Hawkings radiation, which is not the X-rays you are talking about

By the way, since when is google hit meter a valid argument?!

RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Black Holes
By ChronoReverse on 4/8/2010 1:58:06 AM , Rating: 4
Are you some kind of moron? This level of black hole knowledge isn't even college level physics. Not only are you going off of Google, but you even fail reading comprehension of the very information you're sourcing.

First off, light is radiation. The particle-wave duality is effect here. The entire electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves are all the same save for energy level. This is highschool level physics.

Second, when we refer to the "inside", it means the inside of the event horizon. By definition, the event horizon is the boundary where nothing can escape due to the intense gravity.

In fact, it doesn't matter if it's particles or waves because when you pass the event horizon, space itself is distorted so much that no matter which way you go (that is, at any velocity) there's no path that will lead out. Nothing escapes; not directly anyway.

Third, the radiation emitted from the accretion disc outside the event horizon only accounts for a small portion of the total mass. Much of it still crosses the event horizon never to be seen again.

Fourth, energy mass equivalence. I knew about this in elementary school. It boggles the mind that you'd dare to correct people without even knowing this basic principle.

Fifth, Hawking radiation is not the same thing as the xrays emitted from the accretion disc. This one is a bit tougher to understand but that's why it's named after a very smart man who theorized them.

Sixth, while there's not too much information we can get about the inside of the black hole knowing the mass (and thus the size) is trivial. The gravity well of a black hole is obviously there and easily measured. Knowing the gravity means you know the mass and thus the size.

RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/8/2010 7:07:30 AM , Rating: 5
When did I differentiate between the inside and outside ?

Except energy like radiation is NOT effected by gravity and escapes the event horizon

I'd say here. Especially when you started to differentiate x-rays and light. Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but the fact that at least 3? of us understood it the way we did means, that at the very least your explanation was not clear.

RE: Black Holes
By porkpie on 4/12/2010 12:08:56 AM , Rating: 3
"The simple fact is THEY are able to escape the Black Holes pull while all other matter cannot."

You managed to pack two separate errors into one short sentence. I salute you.

First, outside the event horizon, ANYTHING can escape a black hole. Matter, energy, EM radiation, your mother's dirty socks, you name it. You are technically "under the pull" of every black hole in the universe right now. Gravitational pull never declines to zero, no matter how far away you are. But you're outside the event horizon, so it doesn't matter.

INSIDE the event horizon, nothing can escape (excluding Hawking radiation, that is). Again, it doesn't matter whether its matter, x-rays or any other form of light, or anything else.

RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 11:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
As the gas slowly spirals through the accretion disk towards the black hole, it releases a large amount of energy

Thank you for quoting what I said in my previous post--a different way. ;) The accretion disk is NOT the black hole itself, it is swirl of matter that is facing ultimate demise by the black hole, waiting to be gobbled up. Large is only subjective, for that matter (get the pun), as it is just a fraction of the total mass.

The hole ultimately wins gaining the lions share of the mass.

This phenomenon makes it impossible to determine, as you so surely state, weather or not a Black Hole grows or even what happens inside of it. Or even if there IS an "inside" as we would perceive

Your logic buffer has overflowed finally. ;) Normally it is functioning okay but right now it is not. Why then, if black holes do not grow as you put it, or, better yet, are unable to be determined if they grow (which we have some pretty good theory backing up that they do), are there many different sizes of black holes--and there is a direct relationship between the size of the event horizon (your black hole) and the mass it contains within.

Once mass goes in, the _only_ way we know it can go out, is through Hawking Radiation. Not x-rays. We can detect the x-rays that are potentially released prior to entry, but that is all.

Light is made up of particles, which cannot escape black holes. Massive bursts of x-ray and other forms of radiation can and DO escape, which is why we can observe this happen.

Light is both a particle _and_ a wave. This packet of energy is commonly referred to as a photon. A photon is electromagnetic radiation. The same electromagnetic radiation that makes up the electromagnetic spectrum. This is the same spectrum that contains radio waves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, x-rays and gamma rays. The reason we can only see visible light is the wavelength of that wave (or photon, or, as you put it, packet of energy).

As such, no photons, no matter their wavelength, can escape once passing through the event horizon, which, is the black hole itself. Matter that crushes after that point, might be come energy, but it is energy that is stuck.

Unfortunately, the amount of this radiation to be released is so small, it has never been observed from a black hole in deep space. Again, lie lie LIE.

Here you misunderstood me again. The radiation I speak of in the quote above is Hawking Radiation. If you don't believe me, look it up, it has been documented in many places. I'm not lying here at all. Read up some more on all of it. It is mostly theory, nonetheless, but it is fascinating for sure.

RE: Black Holes
By SPOOFE on 4/7/2010 4:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
The matter doesn't "go" anywhere. It is destroyed ;utterly and broken down to it's most basic energy form.

E=MC^2. Matter is not "destroyed", it is converted to energy, and the two, for the sake of this discussion, are the same. The mass/energy, and thus the gravitational attraction of the BH, are increased, and as a result its apparent event horizon becomes larger.

This is why black holes emit massive amounts of x-ray's and other forms of radiation.

As matter falls into a black hole, it accelerates and becomes energetic; if a large amount of matter is falling in at the same time, it can become energetic and dense enough to cause the X-ray emissions we witness. No actual energy is radiated from within the bounds of the event horizon.

Except energy like radiation is NOT effected by gravity


If all the energy was trapped and "adding to it's might" as you put it, we wouldn't be able to observe these energies from Earth or space satellites, which we clearly CAN and DO.

We witness the results of material interactions just prior to crossing the event horizon. The tidal stresses just outside the EH are still extreme, even if they don't trap light particles, and those tidal stresses produce some very intense and energetic reactions.

Think about it this way, some of these black holes are as old as the universe itself. If you were correct, and Black Holes fed and grew larger, than there might not be much of a universe left to observe would there ?

Nonsense. Most celestial bodies are separated by a gigantic void. Void provides no material for a black hole to feed on. It is true that some distant future of the universe is likely to be dominated by super-massive black holes, but at this point in the universe's expansion, there's no reason to believe that BH's wouldn't be anything other than an isolated phenomenon.

RE: Black Holes
By porkpie on 4/11/2010 11:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
"This is terribly false, sorry. The matter doesn't "go" anywhere. It is destroyed ;utterly and broken down to it's most basic energy form."

I'm sorry, but this isn't true. The fact is we don't know what happens to matter inside a black hole. The laws of physics break down. That's why we call it a "singularity", in fact...a place where the laws do not apply.

"This is why black holes emit massive amounts of x-ray's and other forms of radiation."

Wrong also. The "massive amounts of x-rays" are not coming from the black hole itself. They're coming from matter being accelerated into the black hole, before they reach the event horizon. Once inside -- no radiation comes out. That's why we call the hole "black". It does not radiate.

The only radiation we see from black holes is Hawking radiation...and that is (generally) negligible (except for very small black holes, which can 'evaporate' due to it).

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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