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Black holes in the early universe, in compact binaries, and as energy sources inside solar-type stars


Marković, Dragoljub (1994) Black holes in the early universe, in compact binaries, and as energy sources inside solar-type stars. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ms5q-kt36.


This thesis consists of three separate studies of roles that black holes might play in our universe.

In the first part we formulate a statistical method for inferring the cosmological parameters of our universe from LIGO/VIRGO measurements of the gravitational waves produced by coalescing black-hole/neutron-star binaries. This method is based on the cosmological distance-redshift relation, with "luminosity distances" determined directly, and redshifts indirectly, from the gravitational waveforms. Using the current estimates of binary coalescence rates and projected "advanced" LIGO noise spectra, we conclude that by our method the Hubble constant should be measurable to within an error of a few percent. The errors for the mean density of the universe and the cosmological constant will depend strongly on the size of the universe, varying from about 10% for a "small" universe up to and beyond 100% for a "large" universe. We further study the effects of random gravitational lensing and find that it may strongly impair the determination of the cosmological constant.

In the second part of this thesis we disprove a conjecture that black holes cannot form in an early, inflationary era of our universe, because of a quantum-field-theory induced instability of the black-hole horizon. This instability was supposed to arise from the difference in temperatures of any black-hole horizon and the inflationary cosmological horizon; it was thought that this temperature difference would make every quantum state that is regular at the cosmological horizon be singular at the black-hole horizon. We disprove this conjecture by explicitly constructing a quantum vacuum state that is everywhere regular for a massless scalar field. We further show that this quantum state has all the nice thermal properties that one has come to expect of "good" vacuum states, both at the black-hole horizon and at the cosmological horizon.

In the third part of the thesis we study the evolution and implications of a hypothetical primordial black hole that might have found its way into the center of the Sun or any other solar-type star. As a foundation for our analysis, we generalize the mixing-length theory of convection to an optically thick, spherically symmetric accretion flow (and find in passing that the radial stretching of the inflowing fluid elements leads to a modification of the standard Schwarzschild criterion for convection). When the accretion is that of solar matter onto the primordial hole, the rotation of the Sun causes centrifugal hangup of the inflow near the hole, resulting in an "accretion torus" which produces an enhanced outflow of heat. We find, however, that the turbulent viscosity, which accompanies the convective transport of this heat, extracts angular momentum from the inflowing gas, thereby buffering the torus into a lower luminosity than one might have expected. As a result, the solar surface will not be influenced noticeably by the torus's luminosity until at most three days before the Sun is finally devoured by the black hole. As a simple consequence, accretion onto a black hole inside the Sun cannot be an answer to the solar neutrino puzzle.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Thorne, Kip S.
Group:TAPIR, Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:28 February 1994
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05092013-084229368
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7688
Deposited On:09 May 2013 16:04
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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