Dynamics and observational signatures of shell-like black hole mimickers

Ulf Danielsson, Luis Lehner, Frans Pretorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We undertake the task of studying the nonlinear dynamics of quantum gravity motivated alternatives to black holes that in the classical limit appear as ultracompact shells of matter. We develop a formalism that should be amenable to numerical solution in generic situations. For a concrete model, we focus on the spherically symmetric anti-de Sitter (AdS) black bubble - a shell of matter at the Buchdahl radius separating a Schwarzschild exterior from an AdS interior. We construct a numerical code to study the radial dynamics of and accretion onto AdS black bubbles, with exterior matter provided by scalar fields. In doing so, we develop numerical methods that could be extended to future studies beyond spherical symmetry. Regarding AdS black bubbles in particular, we find that the original prescription for the internal matter fluxes needed to stabilize the black bubble is inadequate in dynamical settings, and we propose a two-parameter generalization of the flux model to fix this. To allow for more efficient surveys of parameter space, we develop a simpler numerical model adapted to spherically symmetric bubble dynamics. We identify regions of parameter space that do allow for stable black bubbles and moreover allow control to a desired end state after an accretion episode. Based on these results, and evolution of scalar fields on black bubble backgrounds, we speculate on some observational consequences if what are currently presumed to be black holes in the Universe were actually black bubbles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124011
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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