Do black holes die? If so how? (Beginner)

Do black holes have a definite life? Everything appears to live and die. Do black holes also die? If so, what can be its cause?

Yes, even a black hole has a finite life. This discovery came about when Stephen Hawking discovered that black holes should radiate energy due to quantum mechanical processes. This radiation is called Hawking radiation. As a black hole radiates energy, it shrinks and the more it shrinks, the more it radiates (this is the nature of the radiative process) and so finally it will completely evaporate. However, the timescale for this is extremely long: a black hole of the mass of the Sun will take more than a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion times the age of the universe to evaporate completely! So it is not a process which has any significant effect for the black holes we find in astrophysical situations.

This page was last updated June 27, 2015.

About the Author

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep built a new receiver for the Arecibo radio telescope that works between 6 and 8 GHz. He studies 6.7 GHz methanol masers in our Galaxy. These masers occur at sites where massive stars are being born. He got his Ph.D from Cornell in January 2007 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Insitute for Radio Astronomy in Germany. After that, he worked at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii as the Submillimeter Postdoctoral Fellow. Jagadheep is currently at the Indian Institute of Space Scence and Technology.

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