Black Holes and Energy

A black hole, according to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, is a dense mass in space that has such a strong gravitational pull that nothing can escape, including light. Everything that enters its “event horizon” is absorbed, causing it to continually collapse under its own weight.

Until quantum mechanics – and Stephen Hawking – came along, it was believed that black holes constantly got smaller because they were always imploding and, thus, contracting. It was also believed that black holes did not emit anything. This made it impossible to detect them through the usual means of direct observation. Instead, scientists relied on information gathered by observing the way a black hole’s gravitational field interacts with its surroundings.

But Hawking concluded that black holes expand even as they contract. They do so by attracting gases and interstellar dust. And when gas and matter enters a black hole’s event horizon, Hawking said, it spirals inward, emitting ever-expanding energy – heat and radiation – that can be detected.

Mass, according to Einstein’s theory, is concentrated energy. And black holes are super-concentrated energy. The amount of energy they retain is far greater than the amount they emit.

This brings us to the second law of thermodynamics. It states that the total energy of any system must always be the same. Entropy, the dissolution of energy, is always equalized somewhere, somehow, by an expansion of energy. In the case of black stars, we can make a connection to the fact that the universe as a whole is expanding. And, indeed, work done by scientists since Einstein’s time suggests that the powerful entropy of black stars is negated by this equal but opposite impulse.

So at one extreme, ever-expanding energy is pushing the borders of the universe outward. At the other extreme, black holes are contracting energy almost infinitely.

Two fundamental movements: contraction and expansion. Two fundamental impulses: concentration and relaxation.