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So,..what Was Your Point?

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Posted by Xray/">Xray on September 10, 1999 07:08:53 UTC

Virtual particles are Hawking Radiation, Mr. David.

(From my post) "Nothing (aside from Hawking radiation) escapes the event horizon of a black hole."

So what was your point? =================================================

Hawking radiation (S.W. Hawking; 1973) The theory that black holes emit radiation like any other hot body. Virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are constantly being created in supposedly empty space. Occasionally, a pair will be created just outside the event horizon of a black hole. There are three possibilities:

1.both particles are captured by the hole; 2.both particles escape the hole; 3.one particle escapes while the other is captured.

The first two cases are straightforward; the virtual particle-antiparticle pair recombine and return their energy back to the void via the uncertainty principle. It is the third case that interests us. In this case, one of the particles has escaped (and is speeding away to infinity), while the other has been captured by the hole. The escapee becomes real and can now be detected by distant observers. But the captured particle is still virtual; because of this, it has to restore conservation of energy by assigning itself a negative mass-energy. Since the hole has absorbed it, the hole loses mass and thus appears to shrink. From a distance, it appears as if the hole has emitted a particle and reduced in mass. The rate of power emission is proportional to the inverse square of the hole's mass; thus, the smaller a hole gets, the faster and faster it emits Hawking radiation. This leads to a runaway process; what happens when the hole gets very small is unclear; quantum theory seems to indicate that some kind of "remnant" might be left behind after the hole has emitted away all its mass-energy.

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