Fraser Cain, for Universe Today:
Quantum theory suggests there are virtual particles popping in and out of existence all the time. When this happens, a particle and its antiparticle appear, and then they recombine and disappear again.
When this takes place near an event horizon, strange things can happen. Instead of the two particles existing for a moment and then annihilating each other, one particle can fall into the black hole, and the other particle can fly off into space. Over vast periods of time, the theory says that this trickle of escaping particles causes the black hole to evaporate.
It’s fascinating to contemplate, to be sure. Still, when I see something like this, I can only wonder what time means to the particles that “pop in and out.” What is time like to a black hole? Why does life seem as long or short as it seems to us?