Naked singularity

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In general relativity, a naked singularity is a gravitational singularity without an event horizon. In a black hole, there is a region around the singularity, the event horizon, where the gravitational force of the singularity is strong enough so that light cannot escape. Hence, the singularity cannot be directly observed. A naked singularity, by contrast, is observable from the outside.

The theoretical existence of naked singularities is important because their existence would mean that it would be possible to observe the collapse of an object to infinite density. It would also cause foundational problems for general relativity, because in the presence of a naked singularity, general relativity cannot make predictions about the future evolution of spacetime.

Some research has suggested that if loop quantum gravity is correct, then naked singularities could exist in nature,[1][2][3] implying that the cosmic censorship hypothesis does not hold. Numerical calculations[4] and some other arguments[5] have also hinted at this possibility.

To this date, no naked singularities (and no event horizons) have been observed.


Predicted formation

From concepts drawn of rotating black holes, it is shown that a singularity, spinning rapidly, can become a ring-shaped object. This results in two event horizons, as well as an ergosphere, which draw closer together as the spin of the singularity increases. When the outer and inner event horizons merge, they shrink toward the rotating singularity and eventually expose it to the rest of the universe.

A singularity rotating fast enough might be created by the collapse of dust or by a supernova of a fast-spinning star. Studies of pulsars[citation needed] and some computer simulations (Choptuik, 1997) have been performed.

This is, of course, an example of a mathematical difficulty (divergence to infinity of the density) which reveals a more profound problem in our understanding of the relevant physics involved in the process. A workable theory of quantum gravity should be able to solve problems such as these.


Disappearing event horizons exist in the Kerr metric, which is a spinning black hole in a vacuum. Specifically, if the angular momentum is high enough the event horizons will disappear. Transforming the Kerr metric to Boyer-Lindquist coordinates, it can be shown[6] that the r coordinate (which is not the radius) of the event horizon is

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