Monday, 15 June 2020

Beacon falling into a black hole, revisited

Having done Exercise 5.5 and discovered lots of things about a beacon being dropped into a black hole we can now revisit Commentary 5.6 where we struggled with Carroll's figure 5.8 and Carroll's claims about increasing intervals observed at a safe distance ##r_\ast## from the centre of a black hole. Back then I ran into several problems: 1) I could not calculate the equation for the radial geodesic, 2) When I used some invented curve, that was more or less the right shape, I had to estimate ##\Delta\tau_1##'s along the beacon path, 3) Having done that the intervals measured by the observer did often not increase.

Now we have an equation of motion for the beacon, that is the radial geodesic. I thought it would never be useful. We now find that it is useful it, and it is the intimidating$$
t=\frac{\sqrt{r_\ast-R_S}}{\sqrt{R_S}}\left[\sqrt{r_\ast-r}\sqrt r-\left(r_\ast+2R_S\right)\sin^{-1}{\left(\frac{\sqrt r}{\sqrt{r_\ast}}\right)}\right]
$$$$
+R_S\ln{\left|\frac{\left(r_\ast-R_S\right)\sqrt r+\sqrt{R_S}\sqrt{r_\ast-R_S}\sqrt{r_\ast-r}}{\left(r_\ast-R_S\right)\sqrt r-\sqrt{R_S}\sqrt{r_\ast-R_S}\sqrt{r_\ast-r}}\right|}
$$$$
+\frac{\pi\left(r_\ast+2R_S\right)\sqrt{r_\ast-R_S}}{2\sqrt{R_S}}
$$(##R_s=2GM## is the Schwarzschild radius) so we can plot that on a graph and the first problem is resolved. Moreover we found the proper speed of the beacon$$
\frac{dr}{d\tau}=-\sqrt{\frac{R_s\left(r_\ast-r\right)}{rr_\ast}}
$$By inverting and integrating that we have an expression for ##\tau## along the path and we can calculate ##\Delta\tau_1##'s which fixes the second problem. We already knew how to plot the return flight of the photon and when we do so, we find that the intervals measured by the observer do
increase for successive signals. So problem 3 was fixed! However, we are still not out of the woods. My second attempt is shown on the right with amounts in natural units. The observer is at ##r_\ast=15## and the event horizon at ##2GM=10##. We consider three photons emitted at ##a,b,c## separated by ##\Delta\tau_1=6##. We can measure the intervals seen by the observer and they do increase but the photon world line is disappointingly flat, unlike Carroll's. Spacetime is almost flat up to event ##b##. So we have to start very close to the event horizon with ##r_\ast=12## and zoom in to the area marked by the red rectangle. Eventually we achieve something like Carroll's (with a bonus photon from ##d##) as shown below. The diagram on the left is fairly bare like Carroll's the same one on the right has numbers added in natural units. ##\Delta\tau_1## was a very small ##0.5##  and the intervals observed at ##r_\ast## were an order of magnitude larger and increasing as Carroll predicted. The observer might have wanted to subtract out the, easily calculated, flight times of the returning photons. The intervals between emissions still increase as can be seen by the increasing vertical distances of ##a,b,c,d## on the diagram.
As an added bonus, from the equation for the proper speed of the beacon, we can calculate it's finite proper time to the event horizon and to the centre of the black hole. The increasing length along the geodesic for fixed proper time helps us intuit a resolution to the apparent paradox that the beacon 'never seems to get into the black hole'

Moreover if we get inside the event horizon, the proper time from there to ##r=0## is ##\pi GM## which is the maximum possible value that we calculated in exercise 5.3.

Get the details here: Commentary 5.6#3 Schwarzschild Black Holes.pdf (5 pages)

More intriguing puzzles remain:

  • To relate the monster formula for ##t## to the geodesic equation from section 5.4; 
  • To think about the beacon's (free falling) inertial coordinate system, its forward and backward light cones and its relationship to the Schwarzschild coordinate system 
  • Spaghettification and the mysterious G2 gas cloud

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