London: Computer simulations indicate that a “naked” black hole may yet emerge in our universe, after spinning away its event horizon, which would lead to the breakdown of the laws of physics.
In 1969, physicist Roger Penrose postulated that every singularity, or black hole, must be shrouded by an event horizon from which nothing, including light, can escape.
The event horizon is the gravity field of a black hole where the space-time is so bent that light cannot escape it.
But, according to a report in New Scientist, simulations developed by Ted Jacobson and Thomas Sotiriou at the University of Maryland at College Park indicates that a black hole may emerge in the Universe that has escaped its event horizon.
If this holds true, it would be bad news for cosmologists because if the laws of physics cannot describe even one location in the universe, the future of the universe - as predicted by those laws - is cast into doubt.
Our description of photons, for instance, may be undermined because those photons may have interacted with a naked singularity while zipping across the universe.
In theory, adding matter to a black hole could make it spin fast enough to shed its event horizon, but previously, physicists have calculated that the spin of black holes has an inherent speed limit that prevents such shedding.
This limit is partly determined by the swirling tornado of space-time that surrounds a spinning black hole.
Past simulations showed that if material was added that made space-time swirl faster, adding yet more material would be increasingly difficult because the increased centrifugal force might fling it outwards before it could reach the black hole’s event horizon, spin it up and disrupt it.
Infalling matter can disrupt a black hole’s event horizon, exposing a ‘naked’ singularity.
However, these simulations began by adding matter to a black hole spinning at its maximum possible rate, according to Jacobson and Sotiriou.
They simulated adding matter orbiting in the same direction to a black hole spinning just below its maximum rate.
Their work suggests that the event horizon could then be disrupted and shed.
All over the universe, including the heart of our galaxy, matter is swirling into black holes and spinning them faster, so it is possible that Jacobson and Sotiriou’s scenario could occur.