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Space Science

Black Holes No More -- Introducing the Gravastar 670

Posted by Cliff
from the yet-another-cosmic-theory dept.
Mark Eymer observes: "From the Space.com article: 'Emil Mottola of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Pawel Mazur of the University of South Carolina suggest that instead of a star collapsing into a pinpoint of space with virtually infinite gravity, its matter is transformed into a spherical void surrounded by "an extremely durable form of matter never before experienced on Earth."' While these objects may abound in the universe, they also say that our entire universe may reside within a giant gravastar." This new theory attempts to fill holes in the currently accepted concept of the "black hole".
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Black Holes No More -- Introducing the Gravastar

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  • ah.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by holzp (87423) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:46PM (#7903455)
    the /dev/null of the universe!
    • Re:ah.... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Galaga88 (148206) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:50PM (#7903512)
      Even better, they say the entire universe may be inside one huge gravastar.

      Which would mean the universe is already *in* /dev/null.
      • Re:ah.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grasshoppa (657393) *
        Which would mean the universe is already *in* /dev/null.

        I have no problems believing that.
      • Re:ah.... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Penguinshit (591885) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:15PM (#7903800) Homepage Journal


        Actually I believe we're in /tmp, awaiting the next reboot...

      • Re:ah.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Fishstick (150821) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:29PM (#7903929) Journal
        ...and each gravastar holds an entire universe which holds a finite number of gravastars each containing yet another universe and so on...

        kind of like the russian dolls metaphor, eh?

        Question: why would we assume that there is ever an outermost gravistar that holds the universe and then ... nothing? Wouldn't it be easier on the limited human intellect to just assume that the gravistar->universe->gravistar-> encapsulation is infinite in each direction?

        Reminds me of Farnsworth's "universe in a box" experiment where each universe held a number of boxes each leading to a parallel universe in which Farnsworth had created a number of boxes which each holding a parallel universe ....

        "Good news, everyone..."

        Ow, my brain has just been subjected to a paralyzing blow -- think I'll take the rest of the day off and drink vodka tonics until the throbbing goes away. ;-)
        • Re:ah.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:41PM (#7904047) Journal
          ...and each gravastar holds an entire universe which holds a finite number of gravastars each containing yet another universe and so on...
          That is very similar to the Microverse theory where if you we to shrink small enough (or grow) you will eventually pass through the limit of the current Microverse into another one.

          This may also help explain how the Wormhole theories work between Black Holes and White Holes (Black being an entrance and White being an exit)...maybe the White Holes are exits from another Gravistar? Thus crossing dimensions...
          OOhhh...I want the movie rights! =)
    • Oh so now the entire Universe runs on Linux now? If that's correct then I think the market share of Windows dropped by a couple of percent. :P
    • Re:ah.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Boing (111813) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:16PM (#7903809)
      In the spirit of operating system universe metaphors:

      In the beginning, God created the universe, and saw that it was good. And God created Man, and Man developed Windows 3.1. Angered, God sent a UDP packet flood filled with His wrath to destroy the sins of man.

      Time went on, and once again mankind became wicked and corrupt. Arrogantly, a tower was built of such size and breadth that it was said that it would reach the Gates of heaven, and it was named the tower of Win32. God punished the wickedness of man by releasing a plague of worms o'er the land, and caused the tribes of men to be unable to interoperate. The tribe of Noob called their language Me98. The tribe of Sadmin called their language Entie2000, or Ekspee in certain regions.

      And time went on in that manner for some time. But yet again, mankind became frought with sin, and God sent a savior, whom he named Linus. But the descendents of the tribe of Redmond had Linus berated under the rule of Pontius PHB.

      And God spake, "fsck this", and made Linux the True System of the Universe. And he didst pipe all sinners into /dev/null, and he didst give those of kind spirit very high "nice" priorities.

      We must look to the day when all zombie processes will rise from their slumber, and the monitors will go black, and the high-bandwidth pipes will run red as blood, and all directories in /home will be judged as fit, or...

      DELETED!

      • Re:ah.... (Score:3, Funny)

        by kjd (41294)
        In the beginning, God created the universe, and saw that it was good. And God created Man, and Man developed Windows 3.1. Angered, God sent a UDP packet flood filled with His wrath to destroy the sins of man.

        Man, lacking a TCP/IP stack in his creation, missed out on this experience entirely. God, receiving no response from his fierce, packety wrath, believed he had won, then abandoned the Earth and spent the rest of eternity darning socks.
  • by ElDuque (267493) <adw5@[ ]igh.edu ['leh' in gap]> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:47PM (#7903471)

    But can they make a new non-stick pan surface out of it?
  • by ShieldWolf (20476) <jeffrankine@nets c a p e . net> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#7903482)
    Will it chase your ship around yelling out I hunger [sinistar.com]? :P
  • it's true (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#7903487)
    after all, all of the bug reports submitted to Microsoft have to be stored somewhere
  • by phunhippy (86447) * <zavoid.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#7903488) Journal
    Its only noon... now I have a headache :(
  • by revery (456516) * <charles AT cac2 DOT net> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#7903492) Homepage
    This new theory attempts to fill holes in the currently accepted concept of the "black hole".

    Ha Ha Ha! Your puny theory will never escape from the irresistible gravitic pull of this horrible pun...

    --

    Was it the sheep climbing onto the altar, or the cattle lowing to be slain,
    or the Son of God hanging dead and bloodied on a cross that told me this was a world condemned, but loved and bought with blood.

  • Warning (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Be carefull when clicking on those "picture of a black hole" links ;)
  • by worst_name_ever (633374) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#7903494)
    This sounds exactly like the sort of thing I used to hear when I was living in the dorm back in school:

    "Dude... what if, like... our whole universe... is just one tiny atom... in the toenail of some giant dude?"

    "Woah, dude."

  • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:50PM (#7903506) Journal
    they also say that our entire universe may reside within a giant gravastar.

    "So what you are saying is that an atom inside our fingernail..."

    "That atom could contain a teeny, tiny universe."

    "Woah!.................Can you sell me some pot?"

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:50PM (#7903508)
    "While these objects may abound in the universe, they also say that our entire universe may reside within a giant gravastar." That statement makes no sense - its saying that everything that exists or can exist, exists inside something else. Where does THAT exist? This sounds a lot like the Skinner Constant, or Finagle's Fudge Factor. (the number in engineering, which when added to, subtracted from, multiplied or divided by, gives you the right answer).
    +1 karma to anyone who gets the title of this post
    • "...and still the universe extends to a place that never ends
      Which is maybe just inside a little jar!"

      --Yakko Warner, "Yakko's Universe," Animaniacs
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Title of the post comes from one of Feinman's books. God you must be such a geek to have read those. :-)

      Feinman talks with an old lady who won't listen to anything he says, she is convinced that the earth really rests on the back of a giant turtle. When he asks what that rests on, she replies something like "Buddy, it's turtles all the way down."

      -Tyler
      tjw19@columbia.edu
    • by pr0t0 (216378) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:26PM (#7903892)
      Memory fading, but I'll be close...

      The title comes from the retelling of a story in Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain where a 17th century philosopher/physicist (which one I can't remember) is giving a lecture on how the Earth moves in the Solar System, floating in space. A woman stands and claims the theory is ridiculous. She states everyone knows that the Earth rests on the back of a giant turtle. To which the scientist asks, "Well then, what is the turtle resting on?"

      Her reply? "Very clever young man, but it's turtles all the way down!"

      It's a great book.

      Sig: I'm sorry but your opinion seems to be wrong.
    • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:31PM (#7903939)
      "While these objects may abound in the universe, they also say that our entire universe may reside within a giant gravastar." That statement makes no sense - its saying that everything that exists or can exist, exists inside something else. Where does THAT exist?

      The last thing that gets sucked into the gravastar is the gravastar itself, which results in the formation of what scientists call a kleinstar, a four-dimensional construct where the inside is the outside (and vice versa). This neatly avoids any issues arising from the concept of having the universe contained within something that is itself within the universe, by moving the whole discussion into the realm of mathematical topology -- which nobody understands, but which we're all too embarassed to admit.

      Remember to stock up on Klein bottles [kleinbottle.com] now, so you'll have something to drink out of once the kleinstar forms. ;-)

  • lets see how many people get sucked in.
  • by Alan (347) <arcterex@uDEBIANfies.org minus distro> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#7903534) Homepage
    So what's on the outside of this giant gravstar we're in? :)
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @02:13PM (#7904389) Journal
      So what's on the outside of this giant gravstar we're in? :)

      The "other side" of the same gravistar.

      It's like "what's beyond the north pole" on a sphere.

      On the surface of a sphere there is no "beyond the edge". Inside a kliensphere there is no "beyond the rim", because there is no rim.

      Imagine the space in the universe is the 2-D surface of the water hanging from a dripping faucet. You're on the new-forming drip. Then the drip comes lose. The surface you're on closes into the surface of the drop. In 2-D there IS no beyond - you need an extra dimension for that.

      Now consider a dripping faucet in 4-space, where the "surface" of the 4-D drop is the 3-D space of our universe.
  • This new theory attempts to fill holes in the currently accepted concept of the "black hole".

    but wouldn't any of these attempts just collapse into the singularity as well??

    Then all you're left with is Vincent and Bob [jeffbots.com]...
  • So does this explain where the SCO evidence went?
  • by Shadow2097 (561710) <(shadow2097) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#7903578)
    I am not a physicist, but from my basic physics and chemistry classes in high school and college, I seem to remember that compressing any matter increases its temperature. Wouldn't the gravitational compression of trillions of tons of gas and dust cause a temperature of billions of degrees? It seems unlikely that a Bose-Einstein condensate would form in such an environment. Can someone more informed that I provide an explanation?

    -Shadow

    • Yes and no,
      IANAP either... but here it goes.

      Blackholes and the like are thought to (slow and eventualy )stop time inside the Schwarzschild radius, without time theres no movement, without movement (eg excitements of atoms) you have no heat.
      Bingo :)
      • by Keebler71 (520908) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:50PM (#7904136) Journal
        sorry, I am a physicist and need to correct a common misconception here... time does not slow down or stop inside the event horizon of a black hole. It only APPEARS to an outside observer that this is the case. If you were to fall into a very massive black hole, you wouldn't even notice anything "different" as you crossed the event horizon and your clock would indeed still "tick". However, someone watching you fall into said hole (from the outside) would see you move slower and slower as you approached the event horizon and would observe your clock to be running "slow". At the instant you hit the event horizon, you would actually appear to "freeze", with no further updates (since you are now inside the horizon and light can not cross the boundary in the outward direction). Hope this helps!
    • I recall reading that neutron stars are largely Bose-Einstein condensates. Yes, they have ridiculously high temperatures, but relative to the amount of matter in that tiny space, it's a very low temperature compared to what it could be. I don't understand that, I'm just parroting what I remember reading.

      Allowing myself to think about that, that means that making matter denser lowers the temperature at which a Bose-Einstein condensate will form. And once you start forming it at anything over 2 degrees Ke
  • P-Branes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Mottola and Mazur have not worked out all the details of how gravastars might form. Yet they say the objects solve a flaw in black hole theory.

    Call us when you work out those little details.

    "Where are all these zillions of states hiding in a black hole?" Mottola said in a recent article in New Scientist magazine. "It is quite literally incomprehensible."

    As I recall from reading Hawking's universe in a nutshell, if you consider black holes as being made of p-branes, waves in p-branes could encode all t
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's not a new idea. Well, the "gravastar" part is, but I think the "universe in a black hole" thing has been around for quite awhile.

    Basically, if you look at the density/matter distribution required to create a black hole, and extrap. outwards, it turns out that the density vs. size of the universe as a whole is really close to what you'd need to make a black hole.
  • Oh great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by qazamotto (545021) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:56PM (#7903588)
    Now Disney is going to have to refilm "The Black Hole"! For some reason I think that "The Spherical Void" just will not be as much of a hit with the little ones.
  • Lee Smolin has a great book on black holes as universes and applies evolutionary theory to universe creation. [amazon.com]
    The Life of the Cosmos. Very good read.

    -Shane
  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:00PM (#7903634) Homepage
    The ``Whole Universe is One Huge Frickin Atom'' story.

    Someone luckily stashed a PDF [gats-inc.com] of this (Copyright 1999 The Onion).

    There you go.

  • by djupedal (584558) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:01PM (#7903657)
    its matter is transformed into a spherical void surrounded by "an extremely durable form of matter never before experienced on Earth."

    Isle 3, womens's underwear. 5 for $2.00 - durable, breathable, washable, wearable.
  • Old news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HarmlessScenery (225014) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:04PM (#7903689)
    Almost identical story appeared 2 years ago:
    CNN version [cnn.com]

    Maybe there's a time dilation effect near a Gravastar? ;)
  • Previous references (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jadsky (304239) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:06PM (#7903711)
    For those of you with short memories, Slashdot covered the gravastar theory when it was announced last year.

    See these articles:

    Black Holes Disputed [slashdot.org], 1/19/2002
    Doubting the Existence of Black Holes [slashdot.org], 3/26/2002

    There must be black holes. That's how articles in the editors' database mysteriously disappear so they can be duped later.
  • by -ParadoX- (158084) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:10PM (#7903761)

    Here's another link to a similar story at Scientific American if your interested:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?arti cleID=00012DEF-46AA-1F04-BA6A80A84189EEDF&chanID=s a008 [scientificamerican.com]
  • by herrd0kt0r (585718) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:11PM (#7903768)
    "...its matter is transformed into a spherical void surrounded by 'an extremely durable form of matter never before experienced on Earth...'"

    one pound of which weighs over TEN THOUSAND pounds!
  • by menscher (597856) <(menscher+slashdot) (at) (uiuc.edu)> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#7903814) Homepage Journal
    They're predicting something that can't be observed. From outside the event horizon, both a point-like black hole and the sphere-like black hole will look identical. Theories that cannot be disproved are boring. Move along, nothing to see here.
  • by Dr_LHA (30754) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#7903817) Homepage
    Let me just say that every 4 months or so somebody writes a paper that tries to explain black holes as something other than black holes. Some of these papers are good, and some are not, but the fact remains that there are people out there who just don't like the idea of black holes and try to come up with other explainations.

    Usually these explanations are far more complex physically than a black hole, so until I see a compelling, scientifically verifiably alternative to the theory of black holes I'll apply the principal of Occams Razor. I.e. The simplest answer is most likely the correct one. Theories that are 30 times more complex than black holes but are not measurably different I'll continue to ignore.
  • by ozzee (612196) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:21PM (#7903855)
    This is somthing I wrote a while back: I call it the Imploding Universe. So, a sigularity is where all the formulas blow up ... right ? The IMPLODING hypothesis goes a bit like this; all matter in the black hole becomes a single point in which the space/time fabric is re-ignited in a whole new universe. So what appears to be an expanding universe is really a remnant effect of the imploding nature. The reason the universe appears to be expanding is because matter is uniformly shrinking and space is expanding to take it's place. The quantum mechanics is explained as a rebirth of the matter. The "dark energy" observation may well be effects of implosion. ... Since then, string theory talks about 'Brane's. So it is quite concievable that "our" universe is within one of these "Branes" and that the "seeping of matter into the brane happens when a "tear" in the current brane is formed from the extreme acitivity of gravitons (since the hypothesis is that gravitons pass through branes while EM and Nuclear forces do not. This is really spooky. Yep, thats MY theory. You have to admit it's cute. Universe's popping up all over the place ...
  • by pcraven (191172) <paul AT cravenfamily DOT com> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:37PM (#7904012) Homepage
    At least I mostly forgot about this dupe before I read it.
  • by torpor (458) <ibisum AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:39PM (#7904035) Homepage Journal
    ... that if you do enough navel-gazing, you will turn yourself inside out.
  • by damien_kane (519267) <damien@st r a t . net> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:40PM (#7904043) Homepage
    At the top of the article:

    Thick-Skinned Gravastars Vie to Replace Black Holes, in Theory
    By Robert Roy Britt
    Senior Science Writer
    posted: 09:52 am ET 23 April 2002

    Now c'mon, I can understand someone being dumb enough to post something from April 2003 and think it's news, from from 2002? And editors accepting it, damn...
  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @01:48PM (#7904110)
    ...then how do they explain that our universe seems to be accellerating in its expansion? Unless all the matter and gravitational forces are centered on the "shell" of the bubble...which seems to defy all current theories. Should not the bubble collapse inward upon itself as each section of the shell pulls on opposing sections?

    The gravastar seems more weird than a generally accepted black hole.
    • by ozzee (612196) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @02:08PM (#7904339)
      ..then how do they explain that our universe seems to be accellerating in its expansion?

      Ah... If this theory is true, then there are more than 4 dimensions. If you look at some of the string theory stuff, you'll see that it's quite possible it's inside a new "brane" (a special case string than is a mem'brane'). This is but one answer.

      It's also quite possible if you look at the universe, we are not "expanding" at all, in fact it is just as likely that we are imploding. (that faint sound you hear is the "BIG SUCK", not the big bang after-all !)

      Some of the "dark matter" observations may be explained by this kind of theory.

  • by theendlessnow (516149) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @02:20PM (#7904486)
    I am Gravastar! Beware I live! Run! Run! Run!
    I am Gravastar! I hunger! Run, Coward!
    Run! Run! Run!
  • by lone_marauder (642787) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @04:30PM (#7905840)
    I guess Steven Hawking has to cancel that Playboy subscription.

    (if you don't get it, move along. There is something to "get" and your mod points are needed elsewhere. Thank you.)
  • by praedor (218403) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @05:05PM (#7906251) Homepage

    on the subject can be found in the New Scientist journal or...here:

    http://www.sciforums.com/t5376/scd6aa1f3497a9a8949 43c2c19febdb24/thread.html

    You can also possibly view the Mazur and Mottola submission (preprint) at:


    http://www.arxiv.org/abs/grqc/0109035


    A google search on gravistars turns up several sources that are perhaps better than the space.com readers digest article.


    Now people, get a hold of yourselves. Most, if not ALL, of you are fully unqualified to poo-poo the idea just as you are unqualified to critique black hole "science". It is downright stupid to poo-poo the idea and hold the classic black hole idea as sacrosanct. No one. NO ONE has seen a black hole. They are ENTIRELY ghosts of the imagination INFERRED from observations that are wholly in accordance with the idea of gravistars OR black holes.


    Claiming that the idea of gravistars requires too much "hand waving" ignores the fact (stone cold fact, that is) that the idea of a black hole itself requires an incredible amount of hand waving and eye covering to get past its very real problems.


    The jury is still out on black holes. If another idea accounts for the same observations while at the same time avoiding the many problems that black holes create...well, it would end up being a better theory outright. The gravistar deserves a real chance to germinate and grow on its merits and math and must not be tossed out the door on the principal that it violates the holy black hole doctrine.

  • by rjoseph (159458) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @05:41PM (#7906711) Homepage
    Emil has been working on this for years, and he's presented it at numerous conferences over the past year or so, including one I attended in Santa Fe over the summer. Check out this article [cnn.com], published Jan. 22, 2002 as well.

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