Evidence for the black hole event horizon
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CitationNarayan, Ramesh. 2003. “Evidence for the Black Hole Event Horizon.” Astronomy and Geophysics 44 (6): 6.22-6.26. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1468-4004.2003.44622.x.
AbstractAstronomers have discovered many candidate black holes in X-ray binaries and in the nuclei of galaxies. The candidate objects are too massive to be neutron stars and for this reason they are considered to be black holes. While the evidence based on mass is certainly strong, there is no proof yet that any of the objects possesses the defining characteristic of a black hole, namely an event horizon. Type I X-ray bursts, which are the result of thermonuclear explosions when gas accretes on to the surface of a compact star, may provide important evidence in this regard. Type I bursts are commonly observed in accreting neutron stars, which have surfaces, but have never been seen in accreting black hole candidates. It is argued that the lack of bursts in black hole candidates is compelling evidence that these objects do not have surfaces. The objects must therefore possess event horizons.
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