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Concept# Event horizon

Summary

In astrophysics, an event horizon is a boundary beyond which events cannot affect an observer. Wolfgang Rindler coined the term in the 1950s.
In 1784, John Michell proposed that gravity can be strong enough in the vicinity of massive compact objects that even light cannot escape. At that time, the Newtonian theory of gravitation and the so-called corpuscular theory of light were dominant. In these theories, if the escape velocity of the gravitational influence of a massive object exceeds the speed of light, then light originating inside or from it can escape temporarily but will return. In 1958, David Finkelstein used general relativity to introduce a stricter definition of a local black hole event horizon as a boundary beyond which events of any kind cannot affect an outside observer, leading to information and firewall paradoxes, encouraging the re-examination of the concept of local event horizons and the notion of black holes. Several theories were subsequently developed, some with and some without event horizons. One of the leading developers of theories to describe black holes, Stephen Hawking, suggested that an apparent horizon should be used instead of an event horizon, saying, "Gravitational collapse produces apparent horizons but no event horizons." He eventually concluded that "the absence of event horizons means that there are no black holes – in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity."
Any object approaching the horizon from the observer's side appears to slow down, never quite crossing the horizon. Due to gravitational redshift, its image reddens over time as the object moves away from the observer.
In an expanding universe, the speed of expansion reaches — and even exceeds — the speed of light, preventing signals from traveling to some regions. A cosmic event horizon is a real event horizon because it affects all kinds of signals, including gravitational waves, which travel at the speed of light.
More specific horizon types include the related but distinct absolute and apparent horizons found around a black hole.

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