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Astrophysics/Einstein and current theory re black holes



Up till now I have read that Einstein definitely stole much of his work from others, simply plagiarising them. What interests me now is that a current scientist is claiming , re a recent study,

that Einstein was wrong and that black holes cannot exist. Is this correct, that, with no black holes in the Universe, Einstein has a gaping flaw in his theories? If so, this would be a relief for me, as the notion that the speed of light was finite always sounded as dubious to me as previous 18th-19th century predictions by scientists that humans would inevitably die from the kind of acceleration found in aeroplanes.

Okay, let's back up a bit. First of all, Einstein never claimed that black holes existed. What Einstein actually showed was a kind of precursor to the idea, by showing in one of his papers (‘On the Influence of Gravitation on the Propagation of Light’)  that light could bend in a gravitational field. He found this angle of deflection of starlight - say from a distant star passing near the Sun during a total eclipse, was:

alpha = 2k M/ c^2 R  

In truth, though Einstein provided a quantitative method to estimate gravitational bending of light, he himself never believed a celestial body could collapse in on itself such that its own light rays would never escape.

That didn't emerge until Karl Schwarzschild showed the Einstein field equations could be used to show such collapse. A simplified threshold for making this cut is given by the well known Schwarzschild radius or:

R(s) = 2GM/c^2

where G is the Newtonian gravitational constant, c is the speed of light in vacuo, and M is the gravitating mass. Once a stellar remnant collapses within this radius, light cannot escape and the object is no longer visible, hence effectively "air tight" to use the words of the article. It is a characteristic radius associated with every mass of macroscopic scale. (  It is this that (technically) gave rise to the black hole concept.

(Incidentally, the term "black hole" never existed until 1964 when it appeared in a science article written by journalist Ann Ewing.)

The fact is that given the preceding theoretical threshold for the Schwarzschild radius we have an excellent default scale point for macro-emergence, and we are also able to empirically validate the limiting parameters once the hole is associated with a known stellar binary system. Thus, in the case of macro-scale black holes, we observe them indirectly as a members of binary (double) star systems, in order to infer their presence from x-rays given off when the companion star’s gaseous layers are sucked into it.As the extraneous matter is severely compressed by the black hole's gravity, it gives off the characteristic x-rays.  Such is the case with the black hole candidate Cygnus X-1.

In the case of supermassive galactic black holes, such as the pair recently discovered within clusters of ellptical galaxies more than 300 million light years distant, we have one "record breaker" at 9.7 BILLION time the mass of the Sun. For such a monster, the Schwarzschild radius would work out to 2.89 x 10^13 m, or about 193 astronomical units (AU).

This is another thing, IF black holes were fictitious objects then a heck of a lot of astrophysicists are wasting their time on them in their research. What good reason would there be to do so? And more importantly, why would esteemed journals like the Astrophysical Journal publish such fictitious, "fantasy" work? It makes no sense so the onus is on those who claim they don't exist to explain and explain in full!

Some recent titles of papers on black holes appearing in recent issues of the Ap. J.:

'Illuminating Massive Black Holes with White Dwarfs: Orbital Dynamics and High-energy Transients from Tidal Interactions'

'Single-epoch Black Hole Mass Estimators for Broad-line Active Galactic Nuclei: Recalibrating Hβ with a New Approach'

'Roche-lobe Overflow Systems Powered by Black Holes in Young Star Clusters: The Importance of Dynamical Exchanges'

All of these appeared in Ap. J.,  Vol. 794,  No. 1, Oct. 10. 2014


Again, and not being facetious, if black holes don't exist why all the papers on them?

As for the claim that "Einstein definitely stole much of his work from others, simply plagiarising them" - all I can say is bollocks! What evidence is there for this? WHO made the claim and where? In what peer-reviewed paper or source? If it is just sappy opinion blabbed in some rag of a newspaper the claim isn't worth anything. There has to be substance to it. This again reinforces the cautionary note that what must be careful about what one reads and always do very careful cross-checking. Don't believe the first thing you see even if it might resonate at some level.

Also, if Einsten did plagiarize previous work, how come no other serious physicists have come to this conclusion?

Look, the world is full of iconoclasts all trying to make a name for themselves (like that astronomer who claimed to 'prove black holes don't exist' cited in the Daily Mail) and some do - for a time. But it never lasts, because ultimately it is usually found they were too quick on the draw and overlooked key facts - as you did in merely putting this question forward- presuming that Einstein himself had anything to do with black holes.

I also have no idea why you'd find it strange or "dubious" that the speed of light was finite. Of course it is or we'd never have been able to measure the speed of light! (By assorted methods, i.e. consult any 1st year  physics textbook) What? You believe it is infinite? Basic physics proves this can't be the case not to mention lunar laser ranging experiments - such as we use to determine the distance of the Moon.

Anyway, I hope that you can make use of at least some of this reply - and also that it convinces you that in the world of para-science there is usually more codswallop spouted per month than all the papers published in Ap. J. the past year!

A good article to read if you're interested:

'Why Everything You Know About Black Holes Might Be Wrong' in ASTRONOMY, October, p. 22.

Soundbite extract, p. 26:

"Even if black holes don't fully exist in our reality,  they do in their own reference frame."


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Philip A. Stahl


I specialize in stellar and solar astrophysics. Can answer questions pertaining to these areas, including: stellar structure and evolution, HR diagrams, binary systems, collapsars (black holes, neutron stars) stellar atmospheres and the spectroscopic analysis of stars – as well as the magnetohydrodynamics of sunspots and solar flares. Sorry – No homework problems done or research projects! I will provide hints on solutions. No nonsense questions accepted, i.e. pertaining to astrology, or 'UFOs' or overly speculative questions: 'traveling through or near black holes, worm holes, time travel etc. Absolutely NO questions based on the twaddle at this Canadian site: purporting to show a "new physics". Do not waste my time or yours by wasting bandwidith with reference to such bunkum.


Have constructed computerized stellar models; MHD research. Gave workshops in astrophysics (stellar spectroscopy, analysis) at Harry Bayley Observatory, Barbados. More than twenty years spent in solar physics research, including discovery of SID flares. Developed first ever consistent magnetic arcade model for solar flares incorporating energy dissipation and accumulation. Developed first ever loop-based solar flare model using double layers and incorporating cavity resonators. (Paper presented at Joint AGU/AAS Meeting in Baltimore, MD, May 1994)

American Astronomical Society (Solar physics and Dynamical astronomy divisions), American Geophysical Union, American Mathematical Society, Intertel.

Papers appearing in Solar Physics, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Journal of the Barbados Astronomical Society, Meudon Solar Flare Proceedings (Meudon, France). Books: 'Fundamentals of Solar Physics', 'Selected Analyses in Solar Flare Plasma Dynamics', 'Physics Notes for Advanced Level', 'Astronomy & Astrophysics: Notes, Problems and Solutions', 'Modern Physics: Notes, Problems and Solutions'

B.A. degree in Astronomy; M.Phil. degree in Physics - specializing in solar physics.

Awards and Honors
Postgraduate research award- Barbados government; Studentship Award in Solar Physics - American Astronomical Society. Barbados Astronomical Society award for service (1977-91) as Journal editor.

Past/Present Clients
Caribbean Examinations Council (as advisor, examiner), Barbados Astronomical Society (as Journal Editor 1977-91), Trinidad & Tobago Astronomical Society (as consultant on courses, methods of instruction, and guest speaker).

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