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A gravitational singularity (sometimes spacetime singularity) is, approximately, a place where quantities which are used to measure the gravitational field become infinite. Such quantities include the curvature of spacetime or the density of matter. More accurately, a spacetime with a singularity contains geodesics which cannot be completed in a smooth manner. The limit of such a geodesic is the singularity. The two most important types of spacetime singularities are curvature singularities and conical singularities. Singularities can also be divided according to whether they are covered by an event horizon or not (naked singularities). According to general relativity the initial state of the universe, at the beginning of the Big Bang, was a singularity, or single point. Another type of singularity predicted by general relativity is inside a black hole: any star collapsing beyond a certain point would form a black hole, inside which a singularity (covered by an event horizon) would be formed, as all the matter would flow into a certain point (or a circular line, if the black hole is rotating). These singularities are curvature singularities.

[edit] Interpretation

Many theories in physics have mathematical singularities of one kind or another. Equations for these physical theories predict that the rate of change of some quantity becomes infinite or increases without limit. This is generally a sign for a missing piece in the theory, as in the Ultraviolet Catastrophe and in renormalization. In supersymmetry, a singularity in the moduli space happens usually when there are additional massless degrees of freedom in that certain point. Similarly, it is thought that singularities in spacetime often mean that there are additional degrees of freedom that exist only within the vicinity of the singularity. The same, fields related to the whole spacetime also exist; for example, the electromagnetic field. In known examples of string theory, the latter degrees of freedom are related to closed strings, while the degrees of freedom are "stuck" to the singularity and related either to open strings or to the twisted sector of an orbifold.

**[edit] Types of singularities
**

[edit] Curvature singularities

Solutions to the equations of general relativity or another theory of gravity (such as supergravity), often result in encountering points where the metric blows up to infinity. However, many of these points are in fact completely regular. Moreover, the infinities are merely a result of using an inappropriate coordinate system at this point. Thus, in order to test whether there is a singularity at a certain point, one must check whether at this point diffeomorphism invariant quantities (i.e. scalars) become infinite. Such quantities are the

However. [edit] Conical singularities A conical singularity occurs when there is a point where the limit of every diffeomorphism invariant quantity is finite. is infinite. any observer below the event horizon of a nonrotating black hole would fall into its center within a finite period of time. On the other hand. infinite temperature.[1] More generally. meaning that there are freely-falling particles whose motion cannot be determined at a finite time at the point of reaching the singularity. it was widely believed that general relativity hides every singularity behind an event horizon. Nor is it known whether singularities . RμνρσRμνρσ. spacetime at the event horizon is regular. In coordinate systems convenient for working in regions far away from the black hole. While in a non-rotating black hole the singularity occurs at a single point in the model coordinates. This is referred to as the cosmic censorship hypothesis. spacetime is not smooth at the point of the limit itself. The simplest Big Bang cosmological model of the universe contains a causal singularity at the start of time (t=0). In which case. called a "point singularity. spacetime looks like a cone around this point. The regularity becomes evident when changing to another coordinate system (such as the Kruskal coordinates). The existence of the singularity can be verified by noting that the square of the Riemann tensor. Thus. and infinite space-time curvature. also known as a Kerr black hole. The metric can be finite everywhere if a suitable coordinate system is used. making naked singularities impossible. An example is the Schwarzschild solution which describes a non-rotating. where the metric becomes infinite as well. a part of the metric becomes infinite at the event horizon. where the metric is perfectly smooth. the singularity occurs on a ring (a sscircular line). a spacetime is considered singular if it is geodesically incomplete. in 1991 Shapiro and Teukolsky performed computer simulations of a rotating plane of dust which indicated that general relativity might allow for "naked" singularities." in a rotating black hole. [edit] Naked singularities Main article: Naked singularity Until the early 1990s.same in every coordinate system. which is diffeomorphism invariant. in the center of the black hole. so these infinities will not "go away" by a change of coordinates. Extrapolating backward to this hypothetical time 0 results in a universe of size 0 in all spatial dimensions. infinite density." Such a singularity may also theoretically become a wormhole. uncharged black hole. where the singularity is located at the tip of the cone. the solutions suggest singularity exists. What these objects would actually look like in such a model is unknown. However. where all timelike geodesics have no extensions into the past. For example. defined as a "ring singularity.

although some of the views expressed are already becoming outdated. Stuart L. causing a ring singularity to form. General Relativity. which conserves entropy and solves the incompatibility problems with the second law of thermodynamics. a repellent force results. They will not begin to lose energy until a cosmological redshift of more than a million is reached. "Formation of naked singularities: The violation of cosmic censorship". . This book provides a layperson's introduction to string theory.. Although such wormholes are often suggested as routes for faster-than-light travel. All known black holes are so large that their temperature is far below that of the cosmic background radiation.66. Before Stephen Hawking came up with the concept of Hawking radiation. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. rather than the thousand or so since the background radiation formed. ISBN 0-226-87033-2. Wald (1984). [edit] Notes • See the discussion of entropy and Hawking radiation under black hole. such suggestions ignore the problem of escaping the black hole at the other end. Small black holes tend to be hotter whereas larger ones tend to be colder. American Physical Society. a non-point-like puncture in spacetime which may be connected to a second ring singularity on the other end. Saul A. The loss of energy also suggests that black holes do not last forever. doi:10. but rather "evaporate" slowly. However.would still arise if the simplifying assumptions used to make the simulation were removed.1103/PhysRevLett. or even of surviving the immense tidal forces in the tightly curved interior of the wormhole. however. (February 1991). The effect may be a stable wormhole. Physical Review Letters 66 (8): 994-997. Entropy. • • Shapiro. Teukolsky. Retrieved on 2007-01-18. this concept demonstrates that black holes can radiate energy. the question of black holes having entropy was avoided. Robert M. [edit] Notes and references 1.994. ^ If a rotating singularity is given a uniform electrical charge. so they are all gaining energy. [edit] Further reading 1. implies heat and therefore temperature.

Gravitation. ISBN 0-7167-0344-0.2 The nonsingularity of the gravitational radius. Freeman. §34 Global Techniques.• Charles W. Misner. and following sections. & John Archibald Wheeler (1973). H. San Francisco: W. §31. Horizons. and Singularity Theorems . Kip Thorne.

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