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The smallest black hole we've ever indirectly observed is about 2.8 times the mass of the sun. We think that's close to the lower limit for a stable black hole, maybe down to roughly 2.5 solar masses or perhaps a little smaller could be found in the future.
Originally posted by Shugo
I would proceed with this question then, would a black hole be able to be detected via an infrared telescope? Surely there has to be another method of detection other than stellar orbits?
However because they "evaporate" I doubt they are still around. But we are looking for them just in case, so far unsuccessfully.
To have a Hawking temperature larger than 2.7 K (and be able to evaporate), a black hole needs to be lighter than the Moon (and therefore a diameter of less than a tenth of a millimeter).
An evaporating mini black hole will briefly radiate many times brighter than our sun in the gamma ray spectrum, if such things are still around. But like I said, if they evaporate, why would they still be here? I suspect that's why we've never seen one and I won't be shocked if we do, but maybe a little surprised.
By their very nature, black holes do not directly emit any signals other than the hypothetical Hawking radiation; since the Hawking radiation for an astrophysical black hole is predicted to be very weak, this makes it impossible to directly detect astrophysical black holes from the Earth. A possible exception to the Hawking radiation being weak is the last stage of the evaporation of light (primordial) black holes; searches for such flashes in the past has proven unsuccessful and provides stringent limits on the possibility of existence of light primordial black holes. NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope launched in 2008 will continue the search for these flashes.
"Forever" tried to tell us: "Time is on our side".
You recite this knowing and you find it all.
While all we did was to divide (Breaking down the whole).
We never looked at what we found (Holograms within).
While we relied on space and time (Noone here can know).
At last we looked at what we found.
Originally posted by CaptChaos
Black holes highlight a situation, common today in astrophysics, where the object under investigation cannot be seen directly. This situation is pure heaven for the crowd of mathematical theorists who have hijacked physics from the natural philosophers and experimentalists. The sainted Einstein seems to have initiated the hijacking with that oxymoron, the “thought experiment.” But problems arise when thoughts are governed by a limited set of beliefs or dogmas and unchecked by direct observation or experiment. The result can be – and generally is – science fiction. University libraries and popular science magazines are full of it at the start of this new millennium.