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Black holes. The black pitfalls of the spacetime. (Schwarze Löcher. Die dunklen Fallen der Raumzeit.) (German)
Astrophysik Aktuell. Heidelberg: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag (ISBN 978-3-8274-2070-1/pbk). x, 206~p. (2010).
In a comprehensible manner, this non-specialist book explains the laymen exciting astrophysical discoveries (gamma ray bursts, active galactic nuclei etc.) and features of solutions of Einstein’s gravitational equations (Schwarzschild, Kerr, and Kerr-Newman metrics). Interpreting these solutions as black holes (BH), it develops a scenario according to which the BH help to make plausible astrophysical observations that otherwise were difficult to understand. It does not suppress the fact that, till now, there exists no empirical evidence for the physical reality of such objects and discusses alternative explanations that assume compact objects of a less exotic type. Therefore, it is astonishing and confusing that one finds repeated statements saying that there exist BH and that, finally, the text even culminates in the sentence: “Black holes are omnipresent objects in the cosmos”. But still more surprising is the author’s belief that, to prove the existence of BH, one should “detect singularities" (!) of the space-time curvature, whereas just these singularities (not the horizons, but the singularities) hint at problems of the so-called BH-solutions and possible limitations of the validity of classical general relativity theory, respectively.
Reviewer: Horst-Heino von Borzeszkowski (Berlin)
Classification: M50
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