Here's another take on the subject.......

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/30597/black-holes-and-positive-negative-energy-particles
Q:

I was reading Brian Greene's "Hidden Reality" and came to the part about Hawking Radiation. Quantum jitters that occur near the event horizon of a black hole, which create both positive-energy particles and negative-energy particles, produce the so-called Hawking radiation. However, I do not understand why only the negative-energy particles are being absorbed into the black hole, while the positive-energy particles shoot outward. Shouldn't there be 50/50 chance that each type of particle is being absorbed by the black hole? Also, the book mentions that a negative-energy particle would appear to an observer inside the black hole as positive. Why?

A:

There are two ways to approach your question. The first is to explain what Brian Greene means, and the second is to point out that the "particles being swallowed" explanation is a metaphor and isn't actually how the calculation is done. I'll attempt both, but I'm outside my comfort zone so if others can expand or correct what follows please jump in!

When a pair of virtual particles are produced there isn't a negative energy particle and a positive energy particle. Instead the pair form an

entangled system where it's impossible to distinguish between them. This entangled system can interact with the black hole and split, and the interaction guarantees that the emerging particle will be the positive one. NB "positive" and "negative" doesn't mean "particle" and "anti-particle" (for what it does mean see below), and the black hole will radiate equal numbers of particles and anti-particles.

Now onto the second bit, and I approach this with trepidation. When you quantise a field you get positive frequency and negative frequency parts. You can sort of think of these as representing particles and anti-particles. How the positive and negative frequencies are defined depends on your choice of vacuum, and in quantum field theory the vacuum is unambiguously defined. The problem is that in a curved spacetime, like the region near a black hole, the vacuum changes. That means observers far from the black hole see the vacuum as different from observers near the black hole, and the two observers see different numbers of particles (and antiparticles). A vaccum near the event horizon looks like excess particles to observers far away, and this is the source of the radiation.

See the Wikipedia article on the

Bogoliubov transformation for more information, though I must admit I found this article largely incomprehensible.

Exactly the same maths gives the

Unruh effect, i.e. the production of particles in an accelerated frame. The fact that the Unruh effect also produces particles shows that a black hole is not necessary for the radiation, so it can't simply be virtual particles being swallowed.