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Wheeler And The Term "Black Hole"

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Posted by pmb on February 14, 2000 17:46:48 UTC

: Its my view again debating is welcome.

: What i feel is that Black hole is not hole.

And I would agree with you. Most relativists would too. Ther term "Hole" is really an anaolgy (although the embedding diagram "looks" like it has a hole in it - rubber sheet analogy etc).

The name, as you may know, was coined by John Wheeler in 1967. Wheeler is always very careful when he names things. And when he decides on a name he uses it like it's always been that way (Even though nobody may have ever heard it!).

Previously they were called "frozen stars" or "collapsed stars." Buy Wheeler though those names weren't quite right. So he decided, after some deliberation, on a new name. The first time he used it was in a lecture as follows (from "Black Holes and Time Warps," Kip S. Thorne):

By reason of its faster and faster infall [the surface of an imploding star] moves away from the distant observer more and more rapidly. The light is shifted to the red. It becomes dimmer millisecond by millisecond, and in less than a second is too dim to see...[The star,] like the Cheshire cat, fades from view. One leaves behind only its grin, the other only its gravitational attraction. Gravitational attraction, yes; light, no. No more than light do any particles emerge. Moreover, light and particles incident from outside...[and] going down the black hole only to add to its mass and increase its gravitational attraction.

: Its matter throughout.

The "matter" is concentrated at a singluarity. As Taylor and Wheeler would say - we don't really know that per se, it's a prediction.

: Had light passed through the hole it would have been bright.

Actually radiation comes from the black hole. Hawking radiation.

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