Xkcd dating formula

If you’re far away from a star (or anything else really) the gravity you experience doesn’t come directly that star, but from the patch of space you’re sitting in.

It turns out that if that star gets smaller and keeps the same mass, that the shape of the space you’re in stays about the same (as long as you stay the same distance away, the density of an object isn’t relevant to its gravity).

Even if that object collapses into a black hole, the gravity field around it stays about the same; the shape of the spacetime is stable and perfectly happy to stay the way it is, even when the matter that originally gave rise to it is doing goofy stuff like being a black hole.

This stuff is really difficult / nigh impossible to grok directly.

Physicist: A black hole is usually described as a singularity, where all the mass is (or isn’t? The event horizon is the “altitude” at which the escape velocity is the speed of light, so nothing can escape.

But if gravity is “emitted” by black holes, then how does that “gravity signal” get out?

The existence of singularities, and what’s going on in those extreme scenarios in general, may be a mystery forever. This probably doesn’t need to be mentioned, but the comic is from xkcd.

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Use and context establish tone, with an expectation for its continuation. With Due Respect is a common way of getting to this trope. Contrast with Expospeak Gag, where a slangy phrase is disguised in excessively formal language (although they can overlap if the speaker then "clarifies" what they were saying, probably while raising an eyebrow).

It’s worth stepping back and considering where our understanding of black holes, and where all of our predictions about their behavior, comes from.

Ultimately our understanding of black holes, as well as all of our predictions for their bizarre behavior, stems from the math we use to describe them. It also turns out that no experiment can tell the difference between floating motionless in deep space and accelerating under the pull of gravity (when you fall you’re weightless). Sarcasm aside, what was genuinely impressive was the effort it took to turn those singsong statements into useful math.

That push or pull is defined as what an accelerometer would measure. Moving past the mind-bending weirdness; this equation, and all of the mathematical mechanisms of relativity, work perfectly for every prediction that we’ve been able to test.

So experimental investigation has given General Relativity a ringing endorsement.

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