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Black Holes and Thermal Radiation

Varun G asked

“Do black holes produce thermal radiation, as expected on theoretical grounds and do they absorb light?”

Ans: Hope you are talking about the Hawking radiation.

Any body at a temperature above absolute zero emits radiations. If the temperature of black body is not absolute zero (It was Stephen Hawking who predicted that black holes should have a finite, non-zero temperature, and hence the name “Hawking Radiation”) it will emit radiation.

In a black hole emitting radiation, there is a loss of mass. If the mass decreased due to Hawking Radiation is more than the mass gained by the black holes via alternate means, the net mass of the black holes will go on decreasing. (This is called “black hole evaporation” Further, it has been noted that the black holes with lower mass emit more radiations than the heavier ones.

This answer may seem contradicting the definition of black hole itself.

“A black hole is a body whose gravitational force of attraction is so huge that even electromagnetic radiation cannot escape from it” as the definition goes.

But the Hawking Radiation is caused by Quantum effects. The processes behind the “escape” of radiation from a black hole is thought to be

  • Vacuum Fluctuations and
  • Quantum tunneling

The above terms and concept will be too high to be discussed at school level. However for the curious ones, I am giving some links to explore.

Wormhole

Deepa asked:

“What is a worm hole?”

Ans:

A wormhole is a hypothetical topological feature of spacetime that would be, fundamentally, a "shortcut" through spacetime.

A wormhole is, in theory, much like a tunnel with two ends each in separate points in [wiki]spacetime[/wiki]. image

There is no observational evidence for [wiki]wormholes[/wiki], but on a theoretical level there are valid solutions to the equations of the theory of general relativity which contain wormholes. The first type of wormhole solution discovered was the Schwarzschild wormhole which would be present in the Schwarzschild metric  describing an eternal black hole, but it was found that this type of wormhole would collapse too quickly for anything to cross from one end to the other. Wormholes which could actually be crossed, known as traversable wormholes, would only be possible if exotic matter with negative energy density could be used to stabilize them

Faster than light Travel
[wiki]Wormholes [/wiki]allow superluminal (faster-than-light) travel by ensuring that the speed of light is not exceeded locally at any time. While traveling through a wormhole, subluminal (slower-than-light) speeds are used. If two points are connected by a wormhole, the time taken to traverse it would be less than the time it would take a light beam to make the journey if it took a path through the space outside the [wiki]wormhole[/wiki]. However, a light beam traveling through the wormhole would always beat the traveler. As an analogy, running around to the opposite side of a mountain at maximum speed may take longer than walking through a tunnel crossing it.

Ref: Wikipedia

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