Jose Cuellar, Staff Writer

Imagine you are in space observing a blackhole. A blackhole is a region of space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from its gravitational pull after crossing a frontier. That frontier is known as the
Event Horizon. For a vast period, scientists believed that gravity could only affect objects with mass. However, according to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it turns out that gravity is nothing but the curvature of space-time. Therefore, gravity can also affect photons and other particles that have no mass. Photons are the bosons for the electromagnetic force. In other words, photons are what light is made of.

The Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg dictates that there are specific factors of a quantum system that cannot be known for sure at the same time, one of those factors is energy and time. A vacuum is defined
as empty space. Thus, its energy should be zero, right? The truth is that the uncertainty principle also applies to vacuums. Hence, there must be a degree of uncertainty on its energy. This means that the vacuum could obtain amounts of energy that are not zero for short periods of time, that phenomenon is called vacuum fluctuations. Vacuum fluctuations can lead to create virtual particles, particles that are created everywhere spontaneously. According to The Principle of Conservation of Energy, matter cannot be created out of nothing. When a virtual particle is created, it is not alone. It is complemented with its antiparticle, and after the two particles are created, they annihilate each other, putting back the energy they “borrow” from the vacuum fluctuations.

What would happen if a pair of virtual particles were created in the event horizon? In 1974, a British scientist named Stephen Hawking, came out with an astonishing answer. Imagine a virtual photon and its antiparticle
created in the boundary of a black hole, one of them would be constrained to fall into the black hole because it is past the Event Horizon and the other one would be released. But since they don’t annihilate each other, how is The Principle of Conservation of Energy maintained? The free virtual photon becomes into a regular photon and the energy is taken from the black hole. Therefore, a black hole wouldn’t be completely black. From your perspective the black hole could be emitting radiation or light. In retrospective, the electromagnetic radiation created in the boundary of a black hole is called Hawking Radiation and it can sometimes make a black hole appear not so black.

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