What is hawking radiation?

2023 Jan 20

Hawking radiation is a theoretical phenomenon predicted by physicist Stephen Hawking in 1974. It states that black holes emit a form of radiation, due to quantum effects near the event horizon (the boundary of a black hole beyond which nothing can escape). This radiation is thought to be caused by the creation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs near the event horizon, with one member of the pair falling into the black hole and the other escaping as radiation.

The radiation is extremely faint and would be difficult to detect, but it would slowly cause the black hole to lose mass over time. This means that black holes are not truly “black,” but instead emit a small amount of radiation. The amount of radiation emitted is inversely proportional to the mass of the black hole, making it harder to detect from larger black holes.

The radiation is also predicted to be thermal in nature, meaning it would have a specific temperature that is dependent on the properties of the black hole, such as its mass and charge. This temperature is known as the Hawking temperature. The radiation would be extremely difficult to detect, but the detection of Hawking radiation would be a major confirmation of the theory of quantum mechanics and general relativity.