Super-massive objects exist at the centre of galaxies. I understand we can observe the orbits of stars around them, and calculate the mass of the body from the speed of the objects orbiting it. Further, I understand that observation of stars at the centre of the galaxy has only been accurate enough to permit this, this century. Hawking does not deny their existence, but argues that they could be described or explained better.
As an object approaches a star or planet, the escape velocity it needs to escape that star’s gravity increases. There is postulated a region a specific distance from a black hole at which the escape velocity reaches the speed of light. So, at that “event horizon” all the electromagnetic radiation emerging from an object falling in would stay, not escaping or falling inwards. That is, at the event horizon there is a record of every object which has ever fallen in to the black hole. This is the “information preservation” referred to in the title of Professor Hawking’s paper, ‘Information preservation and weather forecasting for black holes.
Quantum theory enables energy and information to escape from a black hole he says. “Grey holes” “only contain matter and light temporarily”.
OK. That bit on Information preservation I got from Horizon or Prospect or somewhere, the rest comes from Cambridge News. Al Arabiya reported that the theory of black holes was inconsistent with general relativity and quantum theory, and desperately wanted me to click on its story “Is the NSA using Angry Birds to spy on you?”
The Independent quoted Don Page: You could say that it is radical to propose there’s no event horizon. But these are highly quantum conditions, and there’s ambiguity about what space-time even is, let alone whether there is a definite region that can be marked as an event horizon.
So, the newspapers attempt to make their readers understand. Michele Bachmann was quick to weigh in: Actually, Dr. Hawking, our biggest blunder as a society was ever listening to people like you. If black holes don’t exist, then other things you scientists have been trying to foist on us probably don’t either, like climate change and evolution.
Oh, wait. The tag line on that page- “The news, reshuffled” and the grinning cartoon of the author indicates it is satire. However, it was believed enough that Ms Bachmann’s spokesman had to deny them. It sounds just like the crazy shit Michele Bachmann might say. Some people prosily refuted it, as I did commenting here. In fact I started this post with that intention.
But even Professor Hawking cannot reconcile General Relativity, Quantum theory and, er, what was the other one, so what is the hope for the rest of us? Perhaps “Michele Bachmann” is right!
If she had said that, and I prosily refuted it, the other thing I was going to say is that I am inconsistent. I hold views which cannot be reconciled. I see through a glass darkly, and approach the truth: my best insights have flaws. “Michele Bachmann strives for false consistency, so cannot see the truth!” I would have ranted.