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From: Damien Broderick <damien@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Subject: (urth) swallow that, swallow anything
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 13:36:21 +0000

prion, it grieves me to say, is speaking through his hat on the matter of
black holes gulping down stars in mere moments.  Here's the authoritative
J-P Luminet (you think I'm making this name up, don't you?), BLACK HOLES,
Cambridge UP 1992:

`Hawking suggested that a mini black hole could be captured by the Sun and
fall gradually towards its centre.  Contrary to popular belief the Sun
would not be consumed by it.  A small black hole would in fact be able to
exist for a long time without having any noticeable effect on the Sun.  The
Sun would only be in any danger if the hole grew very quickly.  However,
the solar matter swallowed by the black hole would emit so much radiation
before disappearing that the radiation pressure exerted on the external
medium would limit the speed of growth of the black hole.  The flow of
consumed matter would adjust itself to the flow of liberated energy, so
that the region around the black hole would become nothing less than an
extremely stable nuclear reactor.  The Sun with the "black heart" would
continue its peaceful life on the Main Sequence, its functioning modified
in a barely perceptible way!' (p. 220)  Astronomers once thought this might
be the explanation for the `missing solar neutrino' problem (now
attributed, as everyone knows, to phase-oscillation between the neutrino
generation states I like euphoniously to regard as eutrinos, mutrinos and
tautrinos, associated respectively with electrons, muons and tauons).

What if a quantum hole passed through Earth?  

`the passage of a black hole through the planet would cause seismic
waves... its exit would be accompanied by atmospheric shock waves...' (p. 222)

prion's salvation might reside in the phrase `only be in any danger if the
hole grew very quickly'.  I think we can assume that the demiurges who
fixed the wormhole/black hole in the heart of Wolfe's Sun would have
managed to avoid using the wrong sized hole.

Damien Broderick

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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