Sunday, April 14, 2013

Horseshoes, hand grenades but not black hole event horizons: Being close to the horizon is not good enough

I do not currently really understand the math of general relativity, but based on some stated rules about the behavior of light around black holes I've created a model in my mind that I would like to write down and then explore and/or destroy.

Start with an event horizon:
In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman's terms it is defined as "the point of no return" i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible. 
Outside the event horizon of black hole is another interesting boundary - the photon sphere:
photon sphere is a spherical region of space where gravity is strong enough that photons are forced to travel in orbits. The radius of the photon sphere, which is also the lower bound for any stable orbit, is:
r = \frac{3GM}{c^{2}}
which is one and half times the Schwarzschild radius.