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naked singularity




A singularity that is not "clothed," i.e., surrounded by, an event horizon. The physical consequences of naked singularities are a subject of hot debate among physicists. Some theorists believe there may be a principle of cosmic censorship at work which prevents naked singularities from forming. Roger Penrose is among those who disagree:
It is sometimes said that if naked singularities do occur, then this would be disastrous for physics. I do not share this view. We already have the example of the big bang singularity in the remote past, which seems not to be avoidable. The "disaster" to physics occured right at the beginning. Surely the presence of naked singularities arising occasionally in collapse under much more "controlled" circumstances would be the very reverse of a disaster. The effects of such singular occurrences could then be accessible now. Theories of singularities would be open to observational test. The initial mystery of creation, therefore, would no longer be able to hide in the obscurity afforded by its supposed uniqueness. [From Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 224 (1973).]

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   • SPACE AND TIME