- astronomy the emission of particles by a black hole. Pairs of virtual particles in the intense gravitational field around a black hole may live long enough for one to move outward when the other is pulled into the black hole, making it appear that the black hole is emitting radiation
Word Origin for Hawking radiation
C20: discovered by Stephen Hawking
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- A form of radiation believed to emanate from black holes, emerging from the region just beyond the black hole's event horizon (from which no radiation can emerge). Pairs of virtual particles and antiparticles, created naturally in the vacuum fluctuation near the black hole, are split apart, one particle falling into the black hole and the other radiating away. The energy lost to such radiated particles is believed to come from the mass of the black hole.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.