Best Evidence Yet for a Black Hole!

Four images of the center of M87 constructed from data collected by eight radio telescopes on four different days. The bar represents an angle of roughly 14 billionths of a degree, and the circle represents the resolution of the system.
(click for credit)

In 1796, Simon Pierre LaPlace predicted that there are objects in the universe which are so massive that light cannot escape them. As a result, they would be “invisible” to us. These objects have become known as black holes. More than 100 years later, Einstein published one of the most successful theories of modern science: General Relativity. A year later, Karl Schwartzchild used Einstein’s equation to define a black hole and calculate its radius, which is now known as the Schwarzschild radius. While black holes captured the imagination of many scientists, Einstein himself did not like them. In fact, in 1939, he published a paper that attempted to show they cannot exist.

Over the years, however, several lines of indirect evidence have supported the existence of black holes. For example, astronomers can measure the speed of objects in orbit around other objects. The speed of the orbiting object indicates the mass of the object being orbited. In the center of a nearby galaxy charmingly named “M87,” there is a disc of hot gas that is orbiting so quickly that the mass of what is being orbited must be three billion times the mass of our sun. However, the size of the object is, at most, the size of our solar system. Those measurements are consistent with Schwartzchild’s description of a black hole.

Of course, it’s always possible that the speed measurements are wrong, or that there is a very massive object that is consistent with what we think a black hole might be but isn’t actually a black hole. Thus, we need some other means by which to analyze the object. That’s where the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) comes in. Despite it’s name, it is not a single telescope. It is a combination of eight different telescopes that are found in different geographic locations. Those telescopes examined the center of M87 for several days, and their data were combined together to produce the images seen at the top of this post. They are exactly what one expects those telescopes to detect if the center of M87 is a black hole. Thus, as the title of this post indicates, they represent the best evidence to date for the existence of a black hole!

Now while these images are excellent evidence for a black hole at the center of M87, it is important to know what they are and what they are not.

Let’s start with what they are not. Despite what the popular press is saying, these are not pictures of a black hole. They are not pictures of the “shadow” of a black hole. In fact, they are not pictures at all! They are computer-generated images that illustrate what radio telescopes detected at the center of M87. Pictures are images that come from visible light. The radio telescopes used in the study do not detect visible light. They detect radio waves. Now, radio waves are a kind of light, but the wavelength of the light is too long for us to see with our eyes. However, they can be detected, which is what a radio does. Radio telescopes are fancy versions of a radio receiver. They receive radio waves from space, and scientist who study the data use that to infer what the radio telescopes were pointed at.

The EHT looked at the center of M87 and studied just one set of radio waves: those that had a wavelength of 1.3 millimeters. That kind of radio wave is actually called a microwave. The microwave oven you have in your home uses microwaves to cook your food, but those microwaves have a longer wavelength than what the telescopes were detecting. Since the telescopes were looking at only one wavelength of light, and since that wavelength is not anywhere close to visible, what you see above are not pictures. In addition, when you think of a picture, you think of something taken with a single lens, like the lens of a camera. In this case, the image was constructed from the combination of eight different instruments in far-flung locations including North America, Central America, South America, and Europe.

Despite the fact that these images are not pictures, they are very impressive. They represent data that many thought could never be collected. After all, while M87 is “close” as galaxies go, it is still more than 53 million light years away! That means from our perspective here on earth, the center of the galaxy is incredibly tiny. In order to see tiny objects, telescopes have to collect a lot of data from them, so generally speaking, the tinier the object, the larger the telescope needed to study the object. To study something as small as what is shown in the images above, a single telescope would have to be so big that it would probably collapse on its own weight! That’s why it took eight telescopes in different parts of the world to get the job done.

More importantly, what the telescopes detected is exactly what one would predict for a black hole that is surrounded by hot gas. Because of a black hole’s unique properties, it severely warps space and time in its vicinity. As a result, the microwaves emitted by the hot gases do not travel in straight lines. They travel in curved lines as shown in the animation below:




This animation from the National Science Foundation (NSF) helps you visualize why the images captured by EHT are such excellent evidence for a black hole. Credit: NSF



Not only do the images show what is expected from a black hole (a ring of microwaves with a disc-like void in the middle), they show that there are more microwaves in certain areas of the ring (the brighter areas in the images) as compared to other areas. Once again, this is what the black-hole model predicted the telescopes should detect. Even the way the bright spots change over the four different days was predicted by the model.

Now while I do consider these images to be excellent evidence for the existence of a black hole at the center of M87, I will make one caveat. The data from eight different radio telescopes had to be combined in order to produce the images, and that’s not an easy task. After all, each telescope is at a different part of the earth, which means they each view the center of M87 a bit differently. As a result, the data must be added together with a mathematical model. That model necessarily includes assumptions, so it is possible that what we are seeing is an artifact of the model. However, as the scientists state in their peer-reviewed paper, multiple independently-produced models were used, and the differences in the results are negligible. That provides a lot of confidence that the images are real.

These results open up a entirely new realm of astronomical observations, and as astronomers get better at this technique, it will provide further tests of the validity of black-hole physics as well as General Relativity. It is definitely the most exciting astronomical discovery since the detection of gravitational waves!

22 Comments

  1. Bruce Rennie says:

    Good morning to you Jay,

    Whatever these images are of, they are not images of the theoretical objects that are commonly called “black holes”. I am not a physicist, but having been interested in the subject since my youth (oh so many decades ago), I have delved into the subject of “black holes”. They make for good (or possibly bad) science fiction, but the theoretical entities cannot, do not and will not exist in our universe.

    The theoretical underpinnings require certain physical characteristics which do not exist in our universe. I have said this before, there are many strange entities to be found in the creation of the Holy, Almighty, Incomprehensible and Personal God. But based on what little we do know of our universe, no such entity as based on the theory as promulgated will ever exist.

    The first characteristic that is required is that the universe is eternal (no beginning) and all evidence so far collected is that our universe has a beginning. This alone should be the death knell of the model, but it still exists because of other factors.

    One of the little mind games that is played on people by those who posit and promulgate these entities is using the change of perspective of the observer. They start out looking at the collapse of matter towards an “event horizon”. Then they change perspective to you, as the observer, falling through the event horizon.

    Putting this aside, there are so many other “holes” in the model that when you take these into account, one comes to the realisation that something is very fishy about the entire subject.

    Let us start with the simple measurable fact that “gravity” as a force is about 38 orders of magnitude weaker than the electric forces . We still do not understand why electrons do not collapse to the nucleus. We have various theories and models that work, but that doesn’t mean we have understanding of why. No explanation has been given as to how “gravity”, even under massive explosive forces, can become a strong enough influence to initiate the collapse.

    Taking into consideration “time dilation” effects due to increasing gravity means that for external observers like us, we should be seeing all sorts of stages in “black hole” creation and all of these stages occurring at increasingly slower paces as far as we as observers are concerned.

    I know you like GR, but the actual observations used to support GR are not quite what you (the general population) should see. An example was a video put out by Fermi Labs. The images collected by telescopes at face value seemed to support the view that GR is correct. However, on closer looking at the images, one realises that something is just not matching with the statements being made.

    I used to have no problem with GR, SR and the various things that were supposed to come out of those theories and models. But closer inspection has lead me to the conclusion that though they are useful, they are fundamentally flawed as explanations for what we see in the universe today. I find it interesting that there are professional researchers (academics, scientists) who are looking at alternatives because of the flaws they see in these models. They are coming up with different problems to those I see in the models.

    The last thing to say is that the philosophical underpinnings of various models touted as being the best explanations for the universe around us have some interesting implications and as a disciple of Jesus Christ, these implications lead me to look at alternative models for a better explanation.

    At any rate, enjoy your weekend with your family and friends. May the God the Father, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit fill your life with all His Blessings and Rest, irrespective of the troubles and trials that come your way.

    regards

    Bruce Rennie

    1. Jay Wile says:

      I knew you wouldn’t like these results, Bruce, but you can’t deny them simply because you don’t like them. You can continue to say all you want that such things cannot exist, but you have a BIG problem. You have to explain the existence of something that has exactly the size and mass predicted by a black hole, has a jet of X-rays streaming away from it just as predicted from matter being absorbed by a black hole, has a disk of hot gases with the characteristics expected from a black hole, and has a void in the center just as expected from a black hole. As soon as you have an alternate explanation, I would love to hear it. Until then, I am putting my money on it being a black hole.

      There is absolutely no reason to expect that black holes are eternal. Indeed, they are a part of the very model that says a universe has a beginning. I am not sure where you get these mistaken ideas, but they aren’t from General Relativity, because it says precisely the opposite of what you are saying.

      We most certainly do understand why electrons don’t crash into a nucleus. The Schrodinger equation explains this quite well. In addition, that has absolutely nothing to do with gravity. As you indicate, the gravitational force is weak compared to the electromagnetic force. The bulk structure of the atom is governed by the electromagnetic force, so gravity doesn’t play a role.

      And yes, of course we understand how gravity can cause the collapse of a star into a black hole. Mass warps spacetime, and enough mass will warp spacetime enough to produce the collapse. This is not only well-understood, but the math that underlies it has been used to make predictions that were later confirmed by the data.

      It’s not that I “like” General Relativity. I don’t like it, because it makes strange predictions. However, I am forced to accept it, because those predictions compare so well to the data. Indeed, General Relativity is one of the most successful theories of modern science specifically because it has made detailed predictions about things that astronomers should see, and time and time again, those predictions have been confirmed by the data to an incredible level of accuracy.

      Once again, as soon as you (or someone else) can come up with an entity that can produce all the observables seen from M87, I am willing to discuss it as an alternative to a black hole. Until then I will go with the entity that predicted these observables before they were measured: a black hole.

      1. Bruce Rennie says:

        Good morning Jay.

        Firstly, my apologies not getting back to you in a timely manner. I have been involved in some discussions on the bible and the quran with some moslems. Secondly, I no longer get any notifications of responses to my comments. I get the notifications of your articles but nothing else, even though I have requested that I get notified of responses.

        At any rate, let’s look at your comments to my comments:

        You say “Bruce, but you can’t deny them simply because you don’t like them. You can continue to say all you want that such things cannot exist, but you have a BIG problem. You have to explain the existence of something that has exactly the size and mass predicted by a black hole, has a jet of X-rays streaming away from it just as predicted from matter being absorbed by a black hole, has a disk of hot gases with the characteristics expected from a black hole, and has a void in the center just as expected from a black hole”

        The BIG problem here is that the characteristics of the theoretical entity “black hole” requires time dilation. It is this time dilation that causes all the problem for the theoretical entity. In a finite time universe, such an entity cannot come into existence. There is no way around it. The theoretical entity and the theory on which it relies is NOT the explanation for these objects. It is as simple as that. It matters not what else the theory may predict about such an entity, if it cannot come into existence then it is NOT the explanation for what we see.

        Now, if a model is developed that does not have the time dilation dilemma and predicts the characteristics that we see, then that explanation is a candidate.

        The “black hole” model as developed from GR requires certain fundamental features for it to exist and our universe does not in any way match any of those specific fundamentals. If someone wants to develop a model of characteristics based on the premise that such entities exist, they are free to do so. However, if there are fundamental requirements for the existence of such entities and these requirements cannot or do not exist, explain how these entities come into existence.

        It is an unfortunate aspect of “science” today that consensus is required with the prevailing models and theories that exist. Don’t question the theories or models or you are considered ignorant. In the case of “black holes”, there are sticking points that are just not answered and if you ask about those sticking points you are classified as non-scientific.

        As a young man, I loved the idea of “black holes” and other strange entities. But when I looked further into the theory and models, I found that there are insurmountable obstacles in the way of their formation within our universe. Every explanation to their formation has too may holes.

        I have no problems with the collection of data that has occurred, it is only with the explanation of that data.

        You then say “There is absolutely no reason to expect that black holes are eternal. Indeed, they are a part of the very model that says a universe has a beginning. I am not sure where you get these mistaken ideas, but they aren’t from General Relativity, because it says precisely the opposite of what you are saying.”

        You wrong here Jay. Go back to the original papers from which these theoretical entities are proposed and expounded. They are not developed in any model in which the universe has a beginning. I don’t know where you have got your mistaken ideas from, but it is not from the original papers. Irrespective of this, it is time dilation that is the killer of the theory and models for “black holes”. You cannot get around that specific problem.

        You then say “We most certainly do understand why electrons don’t crash into a nucleus. The Schrodinger equation explains this quite well. In addition, that has absolutely nothing to do with gravity. As you indicate, the gravitational force is weak compared to the electromagnetic force. The bulk structure of the atom is governed by the electromagnetic force, so gravity doesn’t play a role.”

        Our understanding of why electrons don’t crash into the nucleus is both incomplete and flawed. However, you miss the point that the fundamental basis for collapse is gravity and that it is assumed that the electromagnetic force does not play a role in the collapse, as in preventing the collapse. There is a disconnect here between the various effects that should be considered and what is actually assumed. When you do consider the matter, one realises that something is awry.

        Too often, the assumptions are not questioned. You believe instead of actually checking. You assume that other people have done the checking for you. You don’t check the underpinnings of a theory because it appears to work and give a good match to the reality of what we see. Can you not see that this is a problem?

        You then go on to say “And yes, of course we understand how gravity can cause the collapse of a star into a black hole. Mass warps spacetime, and enough mass will warp spacetime enough to produce the collapse. This is not only well-understood, but the math that underlies it has been used to make predictions that were later confirmed by the data.”

        You are making assumptions that you have not checked. You really need to go back to the original papers and see what are the conditions required. You know as well as I do that just because the mathematics predicts certain results doesn’t mean that the mathematics is correct. If the underlying axioms are flawed, then no matter how accurate the predictions, the mathematics doesn’t give any indicator of the reality that we see. A wonderful example of this is Fourier Analysis and all the associated mathematics. Drawing Homer Simpson with orbital mechanics.

        You then comment on GR with “It’s not that I “like” General Relativity. I don’t like it, because it makes strange predictions. However, I am forced to accept it, because those predictions compare so well to the data. Indeed, General Relativity is one of the most successful theories of modern science specifically because it has made detailed predictions about things that astronomers should see, and time and time again, those predictions have been confirmed by the data to an incredible level of accuracy.”

        Have you looked closely at the observations they have used to verify the predictions of GR. There are some real clear, obvious anomalies between what GR predicts and what is actually seen. I have recently watched a video that supports GR with observational data and on the surface GR appears to match what is seen. But on a closer look, the observations should be something more than what we actually see. I find it interesting that there are experiments that can be done in the laboratory that match what we see in the far reaches of space and has no relationship whatsoever with GR.

        You can believe what you like. That is your choice, but be careful that you check out the basic assumptions and principles behind what you believe.

        GR is a theory that has some practical value, but practicality has NO bearing on the veracity of the theory. In engineering, we were taught that there are many different practical theories and models for which we can work with. Just don’t treat them as the “truth”. They will all fail you eventually.

        Finally, may God, our Great and Holy God, keep you and your family safe in His arms and love and care. May blessing pour forth deeply and overwhelmingly upon you and yours in the coming weeks ahead.

        regards

        Bruce Rennie

        1. Jay Wile says:

          Bruce, I wish you had taken longer to reply. In that time, you could have actually educated yourself on this subject. If you had, you would have realized that everything you have stated in this post is wrong.

          Time dilation is not a big problem for black holes. In fact, it is strong supporting evidence for black holes. We know that gravitational time dilation is real. You might not like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that is has been confirmed several times, and General Relativity’s predictions are precisely what has been observed in these confirmations. It has been measured under laboratory conditions, it has been observed in Gravity Probe A , it has been observed on mountains, it has been observed on airplanes, and it is observed every nanosecond of every day in the global positioning system.

          You are also wrong about the theoretical implications. There is no problem with a black hole forming in a universe that is not eternal. If you would learn general relativity, you would understand why. Time is another dimension in relativity, just like the three dimensions of space. If space and time warp enough, time does not pass in that warped region of space. This does not take an infinite amount of time. Indeed, the equations require it to take a finite amount of time.

          You seem to imply that I am following “consensus” when it comes to black holes. Clearly, you are ignoring nearly everything I have written. Consensus means nothing to me, and I am more than willing to question the consensus when the data indicate that I should. However, in this case, the data indicate that the consensus is correct, and it is unscientific to ignore the data. Yes, you are unscientific to deny time dilation, but that’s not because of consensus. It’s because the data have clearly demonstrated the existence of time dilation and have confirmed that it behaves precisely as predicted by general relativity. You can’t deny the data just because you don’t like what they say!

          You ask me to go back to the original papers, but you clearly have not read them yourself. If you had, you would know that you are wrong. Indeed, general relativity says that the universe must have a beginning. Read Einstein’s original paper on the cosmological constant. In it, he says that the equations of general relativity imply an expanding universe. He did not want an expanding universe, so he pull his “cosmological constant” out of thin air to force the equations of general relativity to form a static universe. Why didn’t he want an expanding universe? Because he wanted an eternal one, and an expanding universe cannot be eternal. As a result, he forced his equations to keep the universe from having a beginning. When the expansion of the universe was confirmed, not only did that provide one of the many experimental confirmations of general relativity, it caused Einstein to say that the cosmological constant was his greatest scientific blunder. Had you read the original papers (as I have), you would know this.

          You claim that “Our understanding of why electrons don’t crash into the nucleus is both incomplete and flawed.” Please elaborate. Specifically what is incomplete? The Schrodinger equation not only precisely explains why electrons don’t crash into the nucleus, it is also used to do all sorts of useful things like interpret the data that come from an MRI. Can you please explain to me how the Schrodinger equation is incomplete and flawed? Be very detailed in your explanation. You should be able to, since you claim that it is clear that “something is awry.” Once again, please tell me exactly what is awry. Do not link videos. Videos are deceptive and are very hard to check. Send me scientific studies that discuss what is “awry” with the Schrodinger equation.

          You say, “You believe instead of actually checking. You assume that other people have done the checking for you. You don’t check the underpinnings of a theory because it appears to work and give a good match to the reality of what we see.” It is clear, however, that I have checked the underpinnings. I know the theories. You clearly don’t and clearly have not checked the underpinnings of the theories. You don’t believe and refuse to check. That is unfortunate, to say the least.

          You also claim, “There are some real clear, obvious anomalies between what GR predicts and what is actually seen.” Once again, please elaborate. General relativity is one of the most successful theories of modern science specifically because there are not anomalies between what it predicts and what is actually seen. Instead, the predictions of general relativity have been confirmed over and over again to an astonishing level of precision. If you think there are anomalies, please elaborate. Give examples of where the predictions of general relativity are not supported by the data. Once again, do not link videos. Videos are deceptive and are very hard to check. Send me scientific studies that discuss a prediction of general relativity and how that prediction is not confirmed by the data.

          I will not believe what I like. I will believe what the data indicate, and the data indicate that general relativity is an incredibly successful theory at predicting large-scale physics. In addition, the data indicate that there is a black hole at the center of M87. You may not like that, and I may not like that, but it is what the data say. If you claim to be looking at this as an engineer, then you cannot ignore the data, regardless how how much you don’t want their implications to be true.

        2. Bruce Rennie says:

          Dear Jay,

          Since I replied to and while waiting for your response, I spent further time considering one of your points and it is in relation to the claims being made about the success of GR. Simply put, there are many claims about how successful GR is.

          How did you put it “General Relativity is one of the most successful theories of modern science specifically because it has made detailed predictions about things that astronomers should see, and time and time again, those predictions have been confirmed by the data to an incredible level of accuracy.”

          But like evolution, GR has lots of claims that it predicts reality. But does it really? Have a long hard look at the various evidences put forward and in the photographic evidence, there are interesting anomalies between what is seen and what GR predicts. Look long and hard and let it pop.

          As far as time dilation is concerned, GR is not the only theory that incorporates time dilation. But aside from that, it is the “fact” that we see time dilation that is the downfall for “black holes” and the reason for their non-existence in our universe. But again, I urge you to go back to the original papers that describe “black hole” formation under GR. Instead of looking at the predictions look first at the underlying assumption and axioms required for the the theory and model progress.

          As I have said before and I’ll say it again. I had no problems with GR and “black holes”, etc., until I started to delve into the underlying assumptions and started looking at the observations being made. It took time to consider the anomalies and the underlying assumptions to see what was discordant between theory and observation. Explanations given required certain unstated and unhighlighted assumptions for these explanations to work. When thinking about the implications of these assumptions, it quickly shows that the entire theory and model is flawed.

          You say I am absolutely wrong about this subject. Fine, that is your opinion, but it still doesn’t dispense with the anomalies between observation and theory. I don’t have to come up with any explanation for the observations seen. But I am fully entitled to highlight that there are some major, major problems between the the theory as promulgated and the observations made.

          What I do find interesting though is your declaration that you follow the data and where it leads you. Yet you don’t seem to look at the implications of the underlying assumptions of the theories that you then say match the data. I don’t doubt that you are “knowledgeable” and “expert” in the fields that you operate in. But you do come across as considering yourself above those who raise objections to where you stand. It’s almost like a knee-jerk reaction that you are the “better” or “superior”. You demonstrate this often with your requests for detailed responses. Yet, you do not do likewise. You offer authoritative statement without proof. Not a good way to have a discussion continue, of course, assuming you want it to continue. Instead of standing on “authority”, try actually defending your view.

          Please, when someone offers a view that is different to yours, I urge you to stop and think about what assumptions you have that are different to those of the other person. Are your assumptions problematic in any way? Have the assumptions you are relying on actual universal validity or are there limits beyond which those assumptions will be completely invalid? See, from my perspective, your responses are of someone who doesn’t want to be challenged in looking at their assumptions. You have made certain claims that I do not like “time dilation” as an example. Yet it is because I have no problem with “time dilation” that I see the problems that arise in “black hole” theory under GR. You have made claims that I do not or have not studied various subjects, forgetting that we can and do and will see different things when we do that study.

          You hold assumptions that we can determine, by observations here, what the characteristics of space are in locations so far from us that we are unable to do actual measurements in those locations. You hold assumptions about the nature of the universe around us that colour your view of reality. You have even declared that you have observed sub-atomic particles, when the reality is that your have observed effects that you assume are what you are declaring as existing. You made the claim that mass distorts space-time, but you can even define what is mass. By implication, you are assuming that gravity arises from mass and that gravity is the distortion of space-time. Is this a valid assumption or does gravity arise from something else and mass is only the symptom? GR is not the only theory that has explanatory power here.

          You have also declared that people (the specific reference was to your students) should understand the current theories before ever considering alternative theories and models.

          It doesn’t matter how “successful” any theory or model is claimed to be. Every theory has limits and has assumptions that are not true and predictions that are close to what is observed but still miss the mark.

          You have demonstrated your intelligence and thoughtfulness. You have also demonstrated that you are closed minded about certain subjects.

          Getting back to these theoretical entities known as “black holes”, consider the answer to some questions:

          In any mass that is supposed to be of sufficient magnitude, what is the effects of time dilation on the mas inside its boundary during the collapse as viewed from an observer at a distance sufficiently far to be “unaffected” by the time dilation effects?

          In terms of that same mass, what is the gravitational field distribution inside the boundary of the object?

          If we use a supernova event to generate the compression forces on a mass of sufficient size, what are the compression force distribution over the surface of that mass and does that alter the compression profile for collapse? What are the possible scenarios in the compression and what effects occur due to time dilation as observed at a far enough distance?

          In that mass, how rapidly does the electromagnetic forces as observed at atomic and sub-atomic level get overwhelmed (or not) by gravity and/or compression forces?

          What is the charge distribution between atoms, etc., during the collapse/compression event and what effects are seen that are cause dby relevant time dilation processes?

          Are any of the assumptions requiring complete uniformity in distribution of forces? Do any of the assumptions required for formation ignore time dilation effects? If so, why?

          At any rate. This subject matter, though interesting, is of no real importance except in studying the underlying philosophical viewpoints and seeing whether or not those philosophical underpinning are antichrist or not.

          We have different viewpoints about these built up over many decades. Whether or not one or both of us is wrong in these matters is of no consequence.

          What does matter is that we both focus on the One True God (Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit) and that we run with Him. May your day be full of blessing in Him. May your wife and daughter be greatly covered in may showers of His grace. I look forward to the day when all brethren meet together and can share the stories of our salvation in Him and be able to discuss His magnificence and glory and joyfully join together in His praise for all that He has done and for all that He is.

          May the Peace that is only found in Him surround you and all of our brothers and sisters. May it keep in Him in the days of trial that is coming upon the whole world. Let our trust always be in Him.

          regards

          Bruce Rennie

        3. Jay Wile says:

          General relativity is nothing like evolution. A huge number of evolution’s predictions have been falsified. Not a single one of General Relativity’s predictions have been falsified. Instead, they have been confirmed with incredible precision. You keep saying that there are “anomalies” between reality and what General Relativity predicts, yet you cannot list one. I think you want there to be anomalies, but you can’t find any.

          You are certainly correct that General Relativity is not the only theory that incorporates time dilation. However, it is the only one the predicted it and gave us the equations that actually work. You say, ” Instead of looking at the predictions look first at the underlying assumption and axioms required for the the theory and model progress.” That, of course, is not science. Science is about making hypotheses and testing those hypotheses’ predictions. Whether or not we like the underlying assumptions is irrelevant. We must follow the data.

          I am sorry, but it’s not my “opinion” that you are wrong. You are objectively wrong. You claim that General Relativity requires an eternal universe. In fact, it requires one with a beginning and an end. I have shown you the paper that has the equations that demonstrate this. You have refused to even read the paper. You say that there are “anomalies” between reality and what General Relativity predicts, but you cannot point to one. That’s because based on the data we have, there are none.

          You claim that I am acting as if I am better than you, but I am not. I am simply giving you the data and asking you to look at it scientifically. However, you refuse to do so. You claim that I am giving “authoritative” statements without proof, but that is demonstrably false. I have linked the scientific studies that give you the data. You simply refuse to consider them. You are the one who is offering statements without any evidence at all. You keep saying there are “anomalies” between reality and what General Relativity predicts, yet you cannot list one. You say that black holes require an infinite universe, when I have shown you the paper that demonstrates the opposite.

          You say, “Please, when someone offers a view that is different to yours, I urge you to stop and think about what assumptions you have that are different to those of the other person.” I do, but I also require people to follow the data if they claim to be analyzing something scientifically. I would ask you: Please, when someone offers a view that is different to yours, I urge you to stop and look at the evidence.

          You are correct that all theories have their limits, but the more successful a theory is at making predictions, the more confidence we can have in that theory being a close model of reality. This is why I know General Relativity is a close model of reality – its predictions are confirmed with stunning precision.

          You ask, “In any mass that is supposed to be of sufficient magnitude, what is the effects of time dilation on the mas inside its boundary during the collapse as viewed from an observer at a distance sufficiently far to be “unaffected” by the time dilation effects?” This demonstrates that you don’t understand black holes at all, and yet you claim they cannot exist. An observer cannot observe the mass inside the event horizon of a black hole. That’s the entire point! We can see the radiation emitted by mass being pulled into the black hole, but we can’t observe the mass inside the event horizon. Of course, the radiation being emitted from M87 and other areas that have the characteristics of a black hole has exactly the characteristics that black hole physics predicts, which is yet another stunning confirmation of a General Relativity prediction.

          “In terms of that same mass, what is the gravitational field distribution inside the boundary of the object?” The mass is concentrated at the center of the black hole, at least according to the equations. We don’t know, because we can’t observe it, but the same equations that have been stunningly confirmed by observations predict that.

          “If we use a supernova event to generate the compression forces on a mass of sufficient size, what are the compression force distribution over the surface of that mass and does that alter the compression profile for collapse? What are the possible scenarios in the compression and what effects occur due to time dilation as observed at a far enough distance?” Once again, this shows you don’t understand general relativity. It’s not a question of compression forces. It’s a question of the geometry of spacetime. The equations show us how a collapsing supernova will warp spacetime so as to produce a black hole. And as the equations say, this doesn’t take an infinite amount of time. If you would take the time to understand General Relativity, you would know that.

          Your other questions are similar in nature. They show that you don’t understand general relativity, and yet you confidently assert that it cannot be true. That’s the problem I have with your comments, Bruce. If you want to argue against a theory, at least learn the theory.

          You are right that what matters is that we focus on God. However, if we are discussing science, we must focus on the data, and you refuse to do that. Until you do, you aren’t going to make any progress in understanding God’s creation!

  2. John D says:

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2009/arch09/090205braided.htm

    Also this

    “Plasma cosmology provides the insights into what is going on in the centers of active galaxies. It does not require a mythical black hole, merely a plasma focus effect. A plasma focus effect is the result of a cylindrically symmetrical electrical discharge. It provides the most concentrated form of electrical energy known. It takes the shape of a tiny plasma donut, or plasmoid, lying in the plane of the spiral galaxy and at its center. The plasmoid accumulates electrical energy from along the spiral arms until it suddenly begins to break down, forming an intense jet of neutrons, particles and radiation along its axis. Electrons, being much lighter, are trapped in the focus for a longer time. The neutrons in the jet begin to decay into protons and electrons, forming hydrogen atoms and some heavier elements, by neutron capture. (Given the extreme electromagnetic environment, we should not expect the neutron decay characteristics to mimic those seen on Earth). The material in the jet forms a “knot” and becomes an electron deficient (positively charged) quasar.”

    …towards the bottom if the article with M87 pictured – https://www.holoscience.com/wp/the-remarkable-slowness-of-light/

    One day you’ll thank me.

    1. Jay Wile says:

      I would thank you if you were giving me a reasonable alternative to explain the observables, John, but you aren’t. Two of the many problems associated with explaining what is going on in M87 as originating from plasma:

      1) Yes, you can have an electrical discharge from plasma, and depending on the specifics, it might form a jet. That’s rare, but it’s at least possible. However, one can pretty easily calculate the energies involved, and you would see electromagnetic radiation with a completely different set of characteristics than what is seen from black holes like the one in M87. However, if you use the physics that General Relativity says will exist at a black hole, you get the observed characteristics.

      2) Plasma completely contradicts these new observations. There is no plasma phenomenon that would produce the void seen by the EHT. Once again, however, that void is predicted by the physics of a black hole.

      Once again, I would love to believe something other General Relativity. So far, however, it is the only theory that consistently makes predictions that are confirmed by the data to an extreme level of accuracy.

      1. John D says:

        That’s why I said “one day!”

        We’re just going to have to wait. I have no other choice than to operate off intuition in these matters so we’ll have to wait for technological advances, mainstream physics, the royal academy, and basically all the data to catch up with my sagely foresight.

        However I am reluctantly willing to concede that “One day you’ll thank me” might very well go like this –

        Me – “Dr. Wile I’m sorry for being a thorn in your side and for always leaving plasma cosmology links on your GR/SR posts. I see now that I was wrong”

        You – “Thank you for that apology! Glad you’ve come to your senses”

  3. Jake says:

    I’m curious: you’ve said a few times that you don’t like GR because its predictions are strange. What do you mean by that? Further, I seem to remember you liking Popper; isn’t such strangeness precisely what Popper said makes a theory worth believing when its predictions pan out?

    I guess any appeals to strangeness end up being subjective, because what’s strange really depends on what we’re used to experiencing — which implies strangeness is defined by consensus. For me GR is a lot less strange than quantum mechanics, since the way the math leads to strangeness in special relativity sets us up for the strangeness of GR. So I’m perfectly content saying I like GR even though it’s strange (particularly because it’s mathy). I’m not sure it makes sense to dislike GR just because it doesn’t go along with everyday intuition, when we have no reason to think everyday intuition extends beyond the everyday. Perhaps like and dislike don’t have much meaning here, though now that I think about it I’m more sympathetic to disliking quantum mechanics because it’s strange.

    1. Jay Wile says:

      As you suggest, the reasons I don’t like GR are subjective. First, I really don’t like the fact that time passes differently in different parts of the universe. It makes everything more difficult to deal with. Now, of course, the fact that I don’t like it is pretty irrelevant. The data clearly show that time does pass differently in different places, so if I want to continue doing science, I have to accept it, whether I like it or not. Since you brought up quantum mechanics, I like its view of time as an independent arbiter much better.

      Speaking of QM, that brings me to the second thing I dislike about GR. It leaves little room for interpretation. It’s hard for me to think that the geometry of spacetime is really what’s driving things like orbital mechanics and the passage of time. Yet, that’s what the equations of GR are based on, and since they are so wildly successful at predicting observables, I have to believe that the underlying concepts of spacetime geometry have a lot of merit. With quantum mechanics, it’s quite different. There are just a few postulates underlying quantum mechanics, and what those postulates mean about the microscopic nature of the universe involves a lot of interpretation. As a result, there are a smorgasbord of interpretations from which one can choose while still being faithful to the observables. As a good, old-fashioned capitalist, I like the notion of lots of choices!

      It has been a long time since I read Popper, but that’s not what I got from his work. I seem to remember him saying that the strangeness of the theory can’t be used to reject the theory if it makes successful predictions. I don’t recall him saying that strangeness makes a theory worth believing. I could be dead wrong about that, however.

      1. Jake says:

        I myself am going off a series of philosophy of science lectures I listened to a while back, which may well have misinterpreted Popper. But I think it’s fair to say he valued striking instances of non-falsification, as Eddington’s 1919 experiment was for him an exemplar of how science should work. And I think he did believe in some positive relation between how improbable a theory was (whatever ‘improbable’ means) and how useful it is for science.

        Thanks for answering; now I have something new in philosophy of science to ponder — the question of strangeness, or novelty.

        1. Jay Wile says:

          I certainly agree that he valued striking instances of non-falsification. That’s another reason GR is so compelling. It would be so easy to falsify, yet each time it has been confirmed.

  4. Alaska Nivanuatu says:

    Interesting,

    are there many other massive objects, suspected to be black holes, that scientists are studying?

    1. Jay Wile says:

      Yes, the same group of telescopes is looking at other candidates

  5. John D says:

    The reason I don’t like SR is that you have to choose a preferential frame. Which twin ages? Choose the frame and you have your answer. But they both can’t age.

    I think science HIGHLY underestimates the power of intuition. The mind can naturally sense Truth and KNOW things that can take years to prove through empirical methods. Don’t underestimate the power of a well tuned mind. And d underestimate the labrinthe of wordly knowledge and all the wrong turns involved in that pursuit.

    1. Jake says:

      The twin paradox is only a paradox; if you do your special relativity right, you find that the twin on the ship returns younger than the twin on earth. If you can handle the math (and all it needs is calculus), you can calculate it.

      And the mind certainly doesn’t sense scientific truth naturally — or if it can, I want some of that for my research. Beautiful math doesn’t seem to produce truth, or we’d have found supersymmetry by now; rationalizing off sensory perception isn’t that great, either, or Aristotle would have realized Newton’s Laws off the bat. The universe is strange; after this year’s Lent, it occurred to me that a solid epistemology could do worse than what Paul says in 1 Corinthians: aside from 8:2, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know,” there’s 13:9-12:

      For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

      When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

      Somehow, we can indeed see some small bit of the truth, but what we see is subtle and strange, easy to see incorrectly, and far more labyrinthine than we’d prefer.

      1. John D says:

        Hey Jake!

        Just seeing this reply. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

        I get that the math works out but I’m suspicious of the underlying logic. I don’t think it’s uncommon for logic and math to be at odds in science. Copernicus got a lot right before Galileo came along and got even more right.

        In the twins paradox wiki link you gave the math seems to want you to pick an inertial frame to solve (You have to calculate velocity – and to calculate velocity you need to pick something to calculate it against)…. and that’s where I get lost. Both twins frames are relative. The solution seems to suggest that the twin experiencing acceleration is who to apply the relativistic effect to. However I was under the impression that either twin could be said to be the one accelerating away from the other. While that may sound ridiculous in our earthbound gravitational state (obvious to any person which body experiences acceleration and can be calculated on an accelerometer), in zero gravity space with nothing around both bodies are in equal inertial states.

        Now there seems to be some disagreement on how to solve the paradox, with some saying not to rely on acceleration –

        “Although some solutions attribute a crucial role to the acceleration of the traveling twin at the time of the turnaround, others note that the effect also arises if one imagines two separate travelers, one outward-going and one inward-coming, who pass each other and synchronize their clocks at the point corresponding to “turnaround” of a single traveler. In this version, physical acceleration of the traveling clock plays no direct role; “the issue is how long the world-lines are, not how bent”. In Minkowski spacetime, the traveling twin must feel a different history of accelerations from the earthbound twin, even if this just means accelerations of the same size separated by different amounts of time, however “even this role for acceleration can be eliminated in formulations of the twin paradox in curved spacetime, where the twins can fall freely along space-time geodesics between meetings”

        I also read in another place that the solution lies in which twin is translating frames… but again either could be said to be translating frames with no other frames of reference around. Isn’t this precisely why many have called for an absolute frame, suggesting we use background stars or cmbr (despite Einstein saying there was no absolute frame?)

        As far as the mind sensing truth naturally – I’m with you on that and I’ve conceded many a personal notions to “aha” moments. However it’s not always the case and some strongly held intuitions have merit. I find it incredible what the ancient philosophers deduced about the natural world using nothing but thought experiments.

        My personal intuition is that Michelson Morely needed a solution and Einsteins pitch was so radical that it dazzled everyone from the beginning. However, I think it odd that the universe should do acrobatics in the form of length contraction and time dilation so that light speeds remains constant. I believe Tesla when we said he measured faster than light velocities in his lab ( https://www.reddit.com/r/Tesla/comments/63wqg5/tesla_electricity_and_faster_than_light_space/ ) Perhaps the MMX revealed something else about visible light in a closed system.

        Dr. Wile always points out that the predictive power is the key to a successful theory and I agree with this to some extent. But it’s possible that the underlying assumption is wrong. There’s a GPS expert named Ronald Hatch who accepts time dilation as fact but contributes it not to SRT but to his own Ether Gauge Theory. I can’t pretend to understand the math or pretend that this theory has any traction with any kind of majority.. but I find it interesting.

        https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/100f/1bfb4ec98c9784cc39722620b82012e5ab36.pdf

        Lastly (and this may come off somewhat conspiratorial) but it’s important to remember that predictive power can be premeditated. The ancient astronomers kept king and country in their palms by “foretelling” signs in sky. Turns out they were just good record keepers. I wouldn’t be surprised if every once in a while a scientist realized that when and how data is released can be more powerful than the data itself.

        1. Jay Wile says:

          I suspect that Jake will want to add his two cents, but there is no argument about how to understand the twin non-paradox. The acceleration argument is a “shorthand” way of saying that the problem is jumping from one reference frame to the other. Acceleration is one way to understand this, but as the part of the Wiki article quote indicates, it is not necessary. It’s not that the acceleration argument is wrong. It’s just that it is not the main issue. Perhaps this article will help you understand the issue better.

          You are quite wrong about Einstein dazzling people. It is not the theory that dazzled. It is the predictions he made coming true with amazing accuracy that dazzles, even to this day. Lots of people don’t like the underlying assumptions of relativity, but the theory can discuss a phenomenon that people hadn’t even thought about measuring and say, “When this is measured, here is what will be found.” Then, when that measurement is made (often decades later), it is exactly what the theory said would be found. That’s the gold standard for a scientific theory, and that’s what relativity gives you time and time again.

          Anyone (including Hatch) who wants to come up with an alternate theory needs to have that kind of success. It’s not enough to explain what we already know. I can ALWAYS come up with a theory that does that. A good scientific theory must predict something that isn’t known and then be successful in that prediction. Do that many times over a period of many decades, and you will come close to the success that relativity has had.

          Also, you can believe Tesla if you want. He was clearly a smart guy. However, lots and lots of smart people have been trying to observe and/or create faster-than-light travel. So far, the result is a big, fat zero. I don’t care how smart someone is. If that person claims to measure something that no one else can measure despite an enormous amount of effort, my money is on the fact that the person didn’t actually measure it to begin with. It’s not necessarily that the person was lying. There are lots and lots of ways an experimentalist can fool himself/herself.

        2. John D says:

          Hello Dr. Wile,

          Thank you for the reply. I read through the Scientific American article and see the same problem. They have made the crux of the issue revolve on which twin is translating frames. There is an immediate bias presented just by naming one of the twins “traveler”. They are both traveler. No frame is ever stationary in an expanding universe. It seems to me that you always need a third frame to solve and that the solution is only valid in the third frame – an absolute frame or observer frame.

          Can we solve the twin paradox in this scenario?

          We have twin one – Steve. He lives on Planet Steve. Twin two is Mike. He lives on Planet Mike. Steves planet is in an expanding universe with no other stars, or planets, or anything. Just empty space. He has no idea if he’s moving through space and if so how fast.

          Oddly enough, Planet Mike finds himself in the same scenario.

          One day much to both of their surprise they notice one planet fly by the other. Mike clocked Steve’s speed as 1/2c. Steve clocked Mike’s speed as 1/2c.

          Both are adamant that theirs was the planet standing still, while some other suggested that maybe each was traveling at 1/4c or other various fractions thereof. How do we assign who is the “traveler” ?

        3. Jay Wile says:

          There is no way of assigning one as the traveler. They might both be traveling, or only one might be traveling. Once again, however, there is no paradox. If each looked at time passing in the other reference frame, they would each see the other frame’s time ticking more slowly than their time. There is no problem with that, of course. It is completely understood because to observe time ticking, they must see a clock, so light must travel from the clock to them, and that takes time.

          This scenario presents no paradox and doesn’t point to any issue with the article.

        4. Jake says:

          Nah, you covered it, Dr. Wile. Thanks for linking to a clearer explanation; I usually just go to the Wikipedia page because I can understand it, but that isn’t all that useful for the layman.

          I guess the thing I can say is that what matters in the twin paradox – as opposed to the Planet Mike/Steve scenario – is that, at the beginning and the end, the two twins return to the same point in spacetime. Every inertial observer is going to measure that, whatever frame they choose, and every inertial observer is going to see that the twin in the spaceship changes reference frames.

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