Liu, Y (reprint author), Tsinghua Univ, Dept Phys, Beijing 100084, Peoples R China.
The gravitational collapse of a star is an important issue both for general relativity and astrophysics, which is related to the well-known "frozen star" paradox. This paradox has been discussed intensively and seems to have been solved in the comoving-like coordinates. However, to a real astrophysical observer within a finite time, this problem should be discussed in the point of view of the distant rest-observer, which is the main purpose of this Letter. Following the seminal work of Oppenheimer and Snyder (1939), we present the exact solution for one or two dust shells collapsing towards a pre-existing black hole. We find that the metric of the inner region of the shell is time-dependent and the clock inside the shell becomes slower as the shell collapses towards the pre-existing black hole. This means the inner region of the shell is influenced by the property of the shell, which is contrary to the result in Newtonian theory. It does not contradict the Birkhofrs theorem, since in our case we cannot arbitrarily select the clock inside the shell in order to ensure the continuity of the metric. This result in principle may be tested experimentally if a beam of light travels across the shell, which will take a longer time than without the shell. It can be considered as the generalized Shapiro effect, because this effect is due to the mass outside, but not inside as the case of the standard Shapiro effect. We also found that in real astrophysical settings matter can indeed cross a black hole's horizon according to the clock of an external observer and will not accumulate around the event horizon of a black hole, i.e., no "frozen star" is formed for an external observer as matter falls towards a black hole. Therefore, we predict that only gravitational wave radiation can be produced in the final stage of the merging process of two coalescing black holes. Our results also indicate that for the clock of an external observer. matter, after crossing the event horizon, will never arrive at the "singularity" (i.e. the exact center of the black hole), i.e., for all black holes with finite lifetimes their masses are distributed within their event horizons, rather than concentrated at their centers. We also present a worked-out example of the Hawking's area theorem. (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V.