Black hole jets

In my hubris, I sometimes write emails to established scientists with my stupid ideas. I have a knack for formulating what I believe to be good questions. Here is what I sent to Netta Engelhardt at MIT this morning.

I appreciate the videos you’ve done on YouTube on black holes.

Some rhetorical questions come to mind. I don’t expect an answer. My intention is to ask them, in case they help stimulate some curiosity toward maybe forming a useful idea.

  1. How much of the mass that is falling into a black hole adds to the mass of the black hole, versus being ejected, say through its jets?
  2. Can we think of the jets as carrying information away from the black hole, given that the BH is accelerating the outbound particles substantially, thereby transferring energy from it?
  3. Wouldn’t (2) then be consistent with a model whereby all information about the BH is thought to be encoded on its boundary, for accreted matter to be seen as sticking to the boundary as it falls in, and over time that same information migrating to the poles of the BH and ejected through its jets?

It just seems to me, as a layman, that black hole jets are such a prominent feature, but I haven’t seen much talk about what mechanisms generate these jets, and what are their relationships to the flow of energy and information into and out of the black hole.

Ben

3 thoughts on “Black hole jets”

  1. We are seeing steady progress in forming ideas on how black holes emit jets.

    https://www.nanowerk.com/news2/space/newsid=52011.php

    The more detailed explanation for gamma ray bursts helps to illuminate the topic. https://wwwmpa.mpa-garching.mpg.de/HIGHLIGHT/2002/highlight0202_e.html

    An interesting phenomenon is pair production. A gamma ray that carries enough energy can spontaneously create an electron-positron pair. That sets an upper limit on how energetic photons can be (2 * 511keV), because you are unlikely to see them at higher energies, if they have become matter.

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