Stripping a Black Hole
Submitted by Burt Jordaan On 2007-05-24

The event horizon of a black hole is like a one-way membrane where things can only pass to the inside and never to the outside. Not even light can move from inside the event horizon to the outside. The actual mass of the black hole is compressed into a mathematical point, called a singularity, sitting at the center of the event horizon surface.
Event horizons are a direct consequence of Einsteinís theory of general relativity. The reason why no events on the inside of an event horizon can be observed from the outside is that gravity is so strong there that nothing can escape from within, and that includes light and any other form of signal.
The event horizon effectively 'dresses' the singularity at the center of the black hole and nature is apparently very reluctant to get rid of these 'clothes'. In 1969, Sir Roger Penrose proposed the cosmic censorship hypothesis, which was also stated as: 'nature abhors a naked singularity'.

So how can a naked singularity possibly be formed and how does nature prevent it from happening? In 1963 Roy Kerr, a native New Zealander, discovered an exact solution to Einsteinís equations of general relativity, representing the space-time around a rotating (spinning) black hole.

Because most (if not all) stars rotate, it is thought that most black holes that have formed from the collapse of massive stars must be spinning.
 And just like a ballerina that spins faster when she pulls her arms in towards her body, a star collapsing under its own gravity will spin faster the more compact it gets.

Every ordinary object has a maximum rate of spin, where the centrifugal forces tend to overwhelm the binding force between its molecules and/or atoms. Exceed that spin rate and the object breaks up and may fly apart. When a black hole spins faster than a certain rate (the Kerr rate), it may destroy its event horizon.

However, a black holeís gravity is so strong that it cannot just break up and fly apart. Should it be able to spin faster than the maximum theoretical spin rate, its 'clothes' (the event horizon surface) may shrink to zero size and essentially disappear.

This means that the 'clothes' become part of the central singularity of the black hole, essentially leaving it 'naked'. For this reason, it is called a naked singularity, the kind that nature apparently 'abhors'.

There is some uncertainty amongst scientists as to whether singularities, naked or not, actually do exist. It is possible that quantum mechanical effects may prevent such bizarre things to exist in nature.

In any case, if singularities do exist, the Penrose cosmic censorship may, by means of a compulsory event horizon, forever prevent their exposure to manís observing telescopesÖ

Article Source:  Burt Jordaan at
Burt Jordaan is an aerospace engineer and owner of the website . The website offers numerous articles and free downloads on relativity and cosmology.