Schwarzschild radius

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The relation between properties of mass and their associated physical constants. Every massive object is believed to exhibit all five properties. However, due to extremely large or extremely small constants, it is generally impossible to verify more than two or three properties for any object.
  • The Schwarzschild radius (rs) represents the ability of mass to cause curvature in space and time.
  • The standard gravitational parameter (μ) represents the ability of a massive body to exert Newtonian gravitational forces on other bodies.
  • Inertial mass (m) represents the Newtonian response of mass to forces.
  • Rest energy (E0) represents the ability of mass to be converted into other forms of energy.
  • The Compton wavelength (λ) represents the quantum response of mass to local geometry.

The Schwarzschild radius (sometimes historically referred to as the gravitational radius) is the radius of a sphere such that, if all the mass of an object is compressed within that sphere, the escape speed from the surface of the sphere would equal the speed of light. An example of an object smaller than its Schwarzschild radius is a black hole. Once a stellar remnant collapses below this radius, light cannot escape and the object is no longer directly visible.[1] It is a characteristic radius associated with every quantity of mass. The Schwarzschild radius was named after the German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild who calculated this exact solution for the theory of general relativity in 1916.

History[edit]

In 1916, Karl Schwarzschild obtained an exact solution[2][3] to Einstein's field equations for the gravitational field outside a non-rotating, spherically symmetric body (see Schwarzschild metric). Using the definition M=\frac {Gm} {c^2}, the solution contained a term of the form  \frac {1} {2M-r}; where the value of r making this term singular has come to be known as the Schwarzschild radius. The physical significance of this singularity, and whether this singularity could ever occur in nature, was debated for many decades; a general acceptance of the possibility of a black hole did not occur until the second half of the 20th century.

Parameters[edit]

The Schwarzschild radius of an object is proportional to the mass. Accordingly, the Sun has a Schwarzschild radius of approximately 3.0 km (1.9 mi) while the Earth's is only about 9.0 mm, the size of a peanut. The observable universe's mass has a Schwarzschild radius of approximately 10 billion light years.[citation needed]

\text{radius}_s (m) \text{density}_s (g/cm3)
Universe 4.46×1025[citation needed] (~4.7 Gly) 8×10−29[citation needed] (9.9×10−30[4])
Milky Way 2.08×1015 (~0.2 ly) 3.72×10−8
Sun 2.95×103 1.84×1016
Earth 8.87×10−3 2.04×1027

Formula[edit]

The Schwarzschild radius is proportional to the mass with a proportionality constant involving the gravitational constant and the speed of light:

r_\mathrm{s} = \frac{2Gm}{c^2},

where:

r_s\! is the Schwarzschild radius;
G\! is the gravitational constant;
m\! is the mass of the object;
c\! is the speed of light in vacuum.

The proportionality constant, 2G/c2, is approximately 1.48×10−27 m/kg, or 2.95 km/solar mass.

An object of any density can be large enough to fall within its own Schwarzschild radius,

V_s \propto \rho^{-3/2},

where:

V_s\! = \frac{4 \pi}{3} r_\mathrm{s}^3 is the volume of the object;
\rho\! = \frac{ m }{ V_s\! } is its density.

Black hole classification by Schwarzschild radius[edit]

An object whose radius is smaller than its Schwarzschild radius is called a black hole. The surface at the Schwarzschild radius acts as an event horizon in a non-rotating body (a rotating black hole operates slightly differently). Neither light nor particles can escape through this surface from the region inside, hence the name "black hole".

Black holes can be classified based on their Schwarzschild radius, or equivalently, by their density. Black holes with very high density have a very small Schwarzschild radius, while larger black holes can have much lower density.

Supermassive black hole[edit]

A supermassive black hole (SMBH) is the largest type of black hole, on the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses. (Supermassive black holes up to 21 billion (2.1 × 1010) solar masses have been observed, such as NGC 4889.)[5] Unlike stellar mass black holes, supermassive black holes have low densities. The average density of a supermassive black hole can be less than the density of water in the case of some supermassive black holes.

The Schwarzschild radius of a body is proportional to the cube root of its volume, assuming the body has a constant mass-density.[6] Therefore, as the body accumulates matter at normal density (in this example, 103 kg/m3, the density of water), its Schwarzschild radius will increase more quickly than its physical radius. When a body of this density has grown to around 136 million (1.36 × 108) times the mass of the Sun, its physical radius would be smaller than its Schwarzschild radius, and thus it would form a supermassive black hole.

It is thought that supermassive black holes like these do not form immediately from the singular collapse of a cluster of stars. Instead they may begin life as smaller, stellar-sized black holes and grow larger by the accretion of matter, or even of other black holes.[citation needed]

The Schwarzschild radius of the supermassive black hole at our Galactic Center would be approximately 13.3 million kilometres.[7]

Stellar black hole[edit]

Stellar black holes have much greater densities than supermassive black holes. If one accumulates matter at nuclear density (the density of the nucleus of an atom, about 1018 kg/m3; neutron stars also reach this density), such an accumulation would fall within its own Schwarzschild radius at about 3 solar masses and thus would be a stellar black hole.

Primordial black hole[edit]

A small mass has an extremely small Schwarzschild radius. A mass similar to Mount Everest has a Schwarzschild radius smaller than a nanometre.[citation needed] Its average density at that size would be so high that no known mechanism could form such extremely compact objects. Such black holes might possibly be formed in an early stage of the evolution of the universe, just after the Big Bang, when densities were extremely high. Therefore these hypothetical miniature black holes are called primordial black holes.

Other uses for the Schwarzschild radius[edit]

In gravitational time dilation[edit]

Gravitational time dilation near a large, slowly rotating, nearly spherical body, such as the earth or sun can be reasonably approximated using the Schwarzschild radius as follows:

 \frac{t_r}{t} = \sqrt{1 - \frac{r_s}{r}}

where:

t_r\! is the elapsed time for an observer at radial coordinate "r" within the gravitational field;
t\! is the elapsed time for an observer distant from the massive object (and therefore outside of the gravitational field);
r\! is the radial coordinate of the observer (which is analogous to the classical distance from the center of the object);
r_s\! is the Schwarzschild radius.

The results of the Pound–Rebka experiment in 1959 were found to be consistent with predictions made by general relativity. By measuring Earth’s gravitational time dilation, this experiment indirectly measured Earth’s Schwarzschild radius.

In Newtonian gravitational fields[edit]

The Newtonian gravitational field near a large, slowly rotating, nearly spherical body can be reasonably approximated using the Schwarzschild radius as follows:

 \frac{g}{r_s} \left( \frac{r}{c} \right)^2 = \frac{1}{2}

where:

g\! is the gravitational acceleration at radial coordinate "r";
r_s\! is the Schwarzschild radius of the gravitating central body;
r\! is the radial coordinate;
c\! is the speed of light in vacuum.

On the surface of the Earth:

 \frac{ 9.80665 \ \mathrm{m} / \mathrm{s}^2 }{ 8.870056 \ \mathrm{mm} } \left( \frac{6375416 \ \mathrm{m} }{299792458 \ \mathrm{m} / \mathrm{s} } \right)^2 = \left( 1105.59 \ \mathrm{s}^{-2} \right)  \left( 0.0212661 \ \mathrm{s} \right)^2 = \frac{1}{2}.

In Keplerian orbits[edit]

For all circular orbits around a given central body:

 \frac{r}{r_s} \left( \frac{v}{c} \right)^2 = \frac{1}{2}

where:

r\! is the orbit radius;
r_s\! is the Schwarzschild radius of the gravitating central body;
v\! is the orbital speed;
c\! is the speed of light in vacuum.

This equality can be generalized to elliptic orbits as follows:

 \frac{a}{r_s} \left( \frac{2 \pi a}{c T} \right)^2 = \frac{1}{2}

where:

a\! is the semi-major axis;
T\! is the orbital period.

For the Earth orbiting the Sun:

\frac{1 \,\mathrm{AU}}{2953.25\,\mathrm m} \left( \frac{2 \pi \,\mathrm{AU}}{\mathrm{light\,year}} \right)^2 = \left(50 655 379.7 \right) \left(9.8714403 \times 10^{-9} \right)= \frac{1}{2}.

Relativistic circular orbits and the photon sphere[edit]

The Keplerian equation for circular orbits can be generalized to the relativistic equation for circular orbits by accounting for time dilation in the velocity term:

 \frac{r}{r_s} \left( \frac{v}{c} \sqrt{1 - \frac{r_s}{r}} \right)^2 = \frac{1}{2}
 \frac{r}{r_s} \left( \frac{v}{c} \right)^2 \left(1 - \frac{r_s}{r} \right) = \frac{1}{2}
 \left( \frac{v}{c} \right)^2 \left( \frac{r}{r_s} - 1 \right) = \frac{1}{2}.

This final equation indicates that an object orbiting at the speed of light would have an orbital radius of 1.5 times the Schwarzschild radius. This is a special orbit known as the photon sphere.

See also[edit]

Classification of black holes by type:

A classification of black holes by mass:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chaisson, Eric, and S. McMillan. Astronomy Today. San Francisco, CA: Pearson / Addison Wesley, 2008. Print.
  2. ^ K. Schwarzschild, "Über das Gravitationsfeld eines Massenpunktes nach der Einsteinschen Theorie", Sitzungsberichte der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Klasse fur Mathematik, Physik, und Technik (1916) pp 189.
  3. ^ K. Schwarzschild, "Über das Gravitationsfeld einer Kugel aus inkompressibler Flussigkeit nach der Einsteinschen Theorie", Sitzungsberichte der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Klasse fur Mathematik, Physik, und Technik (1916) pp 424.
  4. ^ WMAP- Content of the Universe
  5. ^ McConnell, Nicholas J. (2011-12-08). "Two ten-billion-solar-mass black holes at the centres of giant elliptical galaxies". Nature. Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  6. ^ Robert H. Sanders (2013). Revealing the Heart of the Galaxy: The Milky Way and its Black Hole. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-107-51274-0. 
  7. ^ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/article1967154.ece

External links[edit]