This paper describes my theory about how black holes really behave. Black holes are stars that have so much mass that after they run out of fuel, they collapse into a very dense ball and the surface gravity is so great that nothing can escape, not even light. So they are called black holes. I'll assume you know about them already. If not you can learn lots about them on the internet. No need for me to bother explaining them again.

The problem

Conventional wisdom is that a black hole is so dense and the force of all the matter in the black hole pulling on itself is so great that there is no known mechanism that can stop the matter from collapsing down to a point. This is a point in a mathematical sense, it literally would have to have zero volume. This represents a singularity. The density would go to infinity. How can this be? How can science explain what goes in this situation? The answer is that science does not cope very well with singularities. So lots of scientists are unhappy with the idea of the black hole going on collapsing down to a single point of infinite density.

One answer

There is a theory about gravistars that I've heard of that is supposed to get us out of the dilemma. The basis behind the gravistar theory is that there is some quantum mechanical explanation as to why the matter in the black hole just can't continue compressing further. It gets stopped at some point by whatever this mechanism is, and in the end you've got a gravistar. That's about all I know about them, except that there is wide disagreement about the concept and not everyone accepts the idea.

My answer

Here's what I really want to talk about. I think my explanation is both original and old hat. You can be the judge. However I haven't been able to locate an argument against my explanation that I accept as blowing the argument away.

Basically my idea is this. As the black hole is forming, it is getting more and more dense and the surface gravity is getting more and more powerful. However at the same time at the surface the huge gravity is warping time so that time is slowing down. Everyone agrees about one aspect of the black hole. As a person (call him the "victim") falls into the black hole, someone outside the black hole watching him fall never actually sees him fall in all the way. From the point of view of the person outside the black hole it takes an infinite amount of time for the victim to fall in.

This is because as the victim is falling in, the speed at which time passes for him is slowing down. This is due to the huge gravity well he is falling into. He is not aware of time slowing down of course. From his point of view time is proceeding normally. However as he looks up and away from the black hole, he sees the universe outside speeding up.

A brief note on red/blue shifts. As the victim falls in he is being accelerated away from the outside observer. This causes a red shift in the light coming off the victim. However just being deeper in the gravity well of the black hole causes a red shift of its own. It is this last red shift that I am concerned about. From the victim's point of view, looking back outside, he sees a blue shift of the light falling down into the gravity well. This is because as the light fights its way out of the gravity well it loses energy. And as it falls in, it gains energy. Light's energy is determined by its frequency. Blue light has more energy than red light.

It is worth noting that if a person goes near a black hole, and is able to hover deep in its gravity well, while he's hovering there his clock will slow down and the outside universe will be running faster. This even happens here on earth, only not very much.

Anyway the victim falling into the black hole will slow down more and more as he gets deeper into the black hole's gravity well, from the point of view of those outside. Looking back out, he sees the universe speed up. He does take an infinite amount of time to fall into the black hole, from the view of the outside observer. The universe will wither and fade out long before he ever completes his fall. This is the part that people are missing. An argument I read against the idea that the victim will see the end of the universe is that he would be unable to view the future before it happens. This is a pretty lame argument. The fact is he would be able to see the universe flash by really fast, but outside the universe would be going along in sync. The victim would just see it sped up and blue shifted. He wouldn't be seeing the future, he'd be seeing it as it happened, just sped up. Meanwhile, outside, we'd have to live through it all.

The conventional explanation is that from the victim's point of view time goes on normally, he falls into the black hole in a fixed amount of time in his own reference frame, and that's all there is to it. He proceeds on down into the singularity, and science throws up its hands as to what happens then. However this is fol-de-rol. The victim will never complete his fall. Outside the black hole time proceeds as usual, billions of years pass, every star dies out and the universe is a cold wasteland (or does whatever it will end up doing). Meanwhile the poor victim is still trying to fall all the way into the black hole.

Just as the victim will never fall all the way in, the matter of the black hole itself will never fall in either. In a perfect balance, as the surface gravity of the black hole goes up, time slows down, and the matter falls slower and slower--from the point of view outside the black hole. From the matter's point of view it is all falling at the usual speed. But the net effect is that time passing goes to zero assymptotically. The question then of what happens at the singularity is irrelevant. The singularity never happens. It can't happen, because time effectively stops in there. It's almost like the universe has a way of protecting itself from a divide by zero error.

I think you can apply this to the whole universe. If there is enough matter to close the universe (and last I heard we've figured out that there isn't), the universe will fall back on itself. It will become one giant black hole. But still no singularity will happen, because as the density goes up time will be slowing down in the same way. Everything will just stop.

This paper is owned by David Ashley . Please feel free to send me email if you can explain where my reasoning is wrong. Written January 2004.

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