Relativity and Cosmology

   

Black Holes, Unicorns, and All That Jazz

Authors: Stephen J. Crothers

The notion of black holes voraciously gobbling up matter, twisting spacetime into contortions that trap light, stretching the unwary into long spaghetti-like strands as they fall inward to ultimately collide and merge with an infinitely dense point-mass singularity, has become a mantra of the astrophysical community, so much so that even primary-school children know about the sinister black hole, waiting patiently, like the Roman child's Hannibal, for an opportunity to abduct the unruly and the misbehaved. There are almost daily reports of scientists claiming that they have again found black holes again here and there. It is asserted that black holes range in size from micro to mini, to intermediate and on up through to supermassive behemoths. Black holes are glibly spoken of and accepted as scientific facts and it is routinely claimed that they have been detected at the centres of galaxies. Images of black holes having their wicked ways with surrounding matter are routinely included with reports of them. Some physicists even claim that black holes will be created in particle accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider, potentially able to swallow the Earth, if care is not taken in their production. Yet despite all this hoopla, contrary to the assertions of the astronomers and astrophysicists of the black hole community, nobody has ever found a black hole, anywhere, let alone 'imaged' one. The pictures adduced to convince are actually either artistic impressions (i.e. drawings) or photos of otherwise unidentified objects imaged by telescopes and merely asserted to be due to black holes, ad hoc.

Comments: 5 pages

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Submission history

[v1] 14 Mar 2011

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