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Sci Tech    H4'ed 11/21/18

Black holes, mathematics, and relativity physics

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The following is considered unacceptable by physics journals. I trust that readers of OpEdNews conversant with the physics will be willing to consider, and conceivably refute my position:

Black-hole theory seems to be suffering from an absorption in mathematics at the expense of physics, especially relativistic physics. When for example it is said that an in-falling body will appear to "freeze" (stop) at an event horizon (originally by Oppenheimer & Snyder [1]) there is a misconception: The radiation from such an object will have already fallen far below the visible spectrum of an observer stationed at a safe distance, and the quantity of radiation emitted will approach zero as its wavelengths approach infinity. What will be seen of a falling object still relatively high above the horizon is already a fading and flickering -- then nothing. And to be clear, so long as an object is visible, its acceleration will be observed to increase (it is falling in an intense gravitational field!) as its clock and emissions slow. There is nothing in relativity theory to suggest that an object will appear to an observer to be accelerating slower the more it actually accelerates. And there is nothing in relativity theory to suggest that observed motion in space and observed motion in time are anything but inversely related.

What is curiously under-remarked about light emitted near an event horizon is that its speed in relation to a distant observer will be close to zero. This would seem to constitute an important addition to the one commonly recognized exception to the constancy of light-speed, that it can be reduced when passing through various media: Light speed also varies with elevation in a gravitational field. Such variation is not relative in the same sense as uniform motion, whereby observers will mutually measure each other's clock to go more slowly. In a gravitational field, elevation effects are relational, not relative: Observers will measure clocks and light-speeds at lower elevations to be slower, and at higher elevations to be faster; such observations are inverse and actual, not mutual and relative. (Incidentally, this suggests a universal standard time, calculable if not physically possible: the clock-speed at a location with no gravitational influence, calibrated to a place such as earth taken to be at rest. Star Date!) And to observe a higher level from below is not to watch the future roll by, as is sometimes said; just as with the iconic twins of the so-called paradox, bodies at different levels in a gravitational field merely age at different rates.

A related misconception about the supposed "freezing" effect is the idea that light emitted just above an event horizon will take a near-eternity to reach an observer stationed at a safe elevation. Very little light will be emitted by an in-falling object near the horizon due to its infinitesimal clock-speed, and any that is emitted will most likely occur at some significant distance above the horizon, and it will accelerate (relationally) as it elevates, to impinge on an observer at c in a finite time-frame.

Regarding black holes themselves, it is thought that they have a material or quasi-material core (a "singularity") and a surrounding region out to the event horizon consisting of captured light and incidental in-falling matter, but otherwise vacant. And the conditions just inside the horizon are generally thought to be less than catastrophic to matter. Some say an astronaut might initially not even realize that she has crossed the horizon (Poisson & Israel [2]).

But the event horizon and its vicinity have not been adequately considered in conventional math-focused interpretations. The tidal effects that afflict matter shortly before crossing the horizon (an elevation with conditions so severe that light is rendered almost motionless going up) will already be extreme -- just as extreme for bodies going down as for those going up. The gradient of field-strength between the smallest differentials would rip atoms apart. Matter would be accelerating at c upon reaching the horizon, and the smallest particle, if it could somehow endure as matter, would have infinite mass falling on anything below. So it is utterly implausible that matter could prevail in such conditions; it would have to be transformed, annihilated, and its rest mass converted to energy at the crossing of an event horizon. Realistically, physically-not-mathematically, there can be no material core, no singularity in a black hole, just a nebulous sphere of light compressed to the limit of photon density.

In the extremes of black-hole physics, as in no other physical investigation, mathematical equations can be completely undone by conceptual inequities. Let the mathematicians calculate upon a new physical assumption: A black hole is a quenching whole of whiteness.


[1] J. R. Oppenheimer and H. Snyder, Phys. Rev. 56, 455 (1939).

[2] E. Poisson and W. Israel, Phys. Rev. D 41, 1796 (1990).

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A former visitant of UC Santa Cruz, former union boilermaker, ex-Marine, Vietnam vet, anti-war activist, dilettante in science with an earth-shaking theory on the nature of light (which no one will consider), philosopher in the tradition of (more...)

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