Large black holes of millions of solar masses are known to be present in the centre of galaxies. Their mass is negligible compared to the mass of the luminous matter, but their entropy far exceeds the entropy of the latter by 10 orders of magnitude. Strong gravitational fields make them ‘black’—but at the same time, they cause them to emit radiation—so they are not ‘dark’. What is the meaning of their borders that may only be crossed once and that leads to the information paradox and what are the properties of their interiors? In discussing these and related questions (is it possible that the volume of a black hole might be infinite?), we uncover the unexpected meaning of the term ‘strong gravity’.
Part of the book: Essentials on Dark Matter
The supermassive black hole located in the galaxy M87 (BH M87) is four times larger than our solar system. If it is spherically symmetric, then a capsule free falling from a distance of 1 light year would cross BH M87’s event horizon within some tens of years. Continuing that journey, any unfortunate astronomer traveling within the capsule would remain alive for a few further tens of hours; if the capsule were equipped with a powerful engine and could slow down, their lifetime inside the horizon beyond “the gates of Hell” would be slightly extended. How is this so? What are the other properties of the interior of BH M87? Maintaining the assumption of spherical symmetry of the exterior of BH M87, we briefly discuss some simple but intriguing properties of its interior, a region that turns out to be highly anisotropic, both expanding and contracting at the same time.
Part of the book: Progress in Relativity