Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Super Massive Black Holes and other mind bending stuff

I've just watched a fascinating program about the current conflict in Physics about Einstein's general relativity theory and Quantum Mechanics/Quantum Gravity.... it is truly mind bending stuff, for instance they have discovered that most Galaxies contain a super massive black hole at it's centre and each galaxy has hundreds and thousands of "Stellar" black holes... our own galaxy has a super massive black hole around which every star, including our Sun (and us) revolve around it.

Einstein's theory of general relativity explains most things such as orbits of stars/planets and gravity or things on a massive scale..... but it's when you get to the black hole that things start to break down on the theory, where  once past the event horizon we meet the singularity where mass becomes infinite, and normal physics cannot explain it away.....Now nobody has ever seen a black hole, but we know they exist because stars orbit these massively super dense area's of space, and in normal space something that dense would be super massive, but these stars in some cases, especially the ones very close to the SMBH orbit them at incredible speeds with some of them taking only light weeks to complete a full orbit an orbit that would be inside the perimeter of the super dense object.... so that means the super dense objects are VERY small....

Now when you get down to the size of a singularity that is when Quantum Mechanics come into play because Quantum Mechanics explains very successfully how things work on a sub atomic level.... but this is the clincher, Gravity doesn't normally effect Quantum Mechanics because the particles being studied/theorized about are so small that Gravity doesn't really come into the equation.... However when you get down to the size of a singularity at the centre of a black hole Gravity becomes infinite as does mass, and at those levels of energy it would come into play.... so Quantum Gravity was born... but it's pretty meaningless at the moment because it's a label that has been put on something that cannot be measured or studied yet... Once black holes are cracked and the scientists can unify Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, or in fact disprove one or the other Quantum Gravity will remain a label over a large gap in Physics....

(That doesn't mean because it's unexplainable at the moment that it's down to God !!... you know who you are !! ... ;¬) )

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