Black Holes May Not Be Black Nor Even Holes
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March 18 2021: Article discusses a recent paper that suggests there are no Black Holes, but merely a Dark Star. Such objects would appear similar to Black Holes to an outside observer — or rather, like a Black Hole, they wouldn't appear at all. Black Holes have a singularity at their core, wrapped in an Event Horizon that prevents light (or anything) escaping.

By contrast, the Dark Stars the article is talking about only have significantly compressed but still finite planck core, incredibly tiny and ultra-dense material, but it doesn't have an event horizon.1 Light does escape a Dark Star, but it's essentially stretched and distorted by the still intense gravity of the dark star, causing it to redshift to such a large wavelength our telescopes don't see it. They may also emit Dark Matter, and/or be the source a mysterious Fast Radio Burst.

There are a number of different conceptual things that sometimes get called a Dark Star. These include:


Game and Story Use

  • Black Holes are well-known at this point, and you can probably figure out the tropes and story uses around them. A Dark Star is an interesting alternative that might help keep your setting fresh and unpredictable.
  • There's something a bit Lovecraftian about the notion of light being so distorted our telescopes just don't see it. Very From Beyond, maybe shading into Colour Out Of Space. Definitely useable in a Cthulhu Mythos game, or spaceships of the damned sort of thing.
  • Dark Stars don't show up in telescopes. Telescopes are basically big mirrors. Vampires don't show up in mirrors. So Dark Stars are space vampires! Or at least the nests where space vampires roost.
  • Perhaps the solution to Fermi's Paradox is that we're not seeing the alien civilizations because for whatever reason they've converted their own suns into Dark Stars via some sort of Dyson Sphere set-up. Until we stumble into them, and surprise, there's an alien world way closer than we ever suspected!
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