(Submitted November 13, 1997)
This might sound like a stupid question, but I want to know what the
name for the center of a black hole is. My Dad told me it would be a cool
name for my rock band, but he couldn't remember what it was. If there are
several applicable terms please include them all, as my Dad's memory can't
At the center of a black hole is a point where the laws of physics break
down. This point is called a 'singularity'. These singularities are
hidden, or 'clothed' by the black hole, so that the effects of the
breakdown cannot be observed by people outside.
However, small black holes are known to decay by the process known as
It is currently a matter of debate as to whether the singularity disappears
along with the black hole that clothes it, or whether you are left with
what is called a 'naked singularity'.
I will not suggest that you call your band 'Naked Singularity', as the term
might be misunderstood by your audience and lead to a decline in public
morals, which is not part of NASA's charter.
for Ask an Astrophysicist