Unusual gamma-ray bursts could reveal what appears to be giant black holes they’re actually huge wormholes, according to a new study.
Wormholes they are tunnels in space-time that can theoretically allow travel anywhere in space and time, or even to another universe. Einstein’s general theory of relativity suggests that wormholes are possible, although whether they really exist is another matter.
In many ways, wormholes resemble black holes. Both types of objects are extremely dense and possess an extraordinarily strong gravitational force for bodies of their size. The main difference is that no object can theoretically turn back after crossing a black hole’s event horizon – the threshold at which the speed required to escape the black hole’s gravitational pull exceeds the speed of light – while any body entering a wormhole could theoretically reverse course.
Video: Last 500 years around the supermassive black hole of the Milky Way
Assuming wormholes might exist, the researchers investigated ways to distinguish a wormhole from a black hole. They have focused on supermassive black holes with masses millions to billions of times that of the sun, thought to dwell in the heart of most, if not all, galaxies. For example, in the center of our Milky Way galaxy lies Sagittarius A *, a black hole monster of about 4.5 million solar masses.
Whatever goes into one mouth of a wormhole will come out of the other mouth. Scientists reasoned that it meant that matter entering one wormhole mouth could potentially bump into matter entering the wormhole’s other mouth at the same time, a type of event that would never happen with a black hole.
Any matter falling into the mouth of a supermassive wormhole would likely travel at extraordinarily high speeds due to its powerful gravitational fields. Scientists have modeled the consequences of matter flowing through both mouths of a wormhole to the point where these mouths meet – the wormhole’s “throat”. The result of such collisions are spheres of plasma that expand almost from both mouths of the wormhole the speed of lightthe researchers said.
“What surprises me the most is that no one has ever proposed this idea before, because it’s pretty simple,” study lead author Mikhail Piotrovich, an astrophysicist at the Central Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, told Space.com. .
The researchers compared the explosions from such wormholes to those from a kind of supermassive black hole known as active galactic nucleus (AGN), which can emit more radiation than our entire galaxy does as they devour the matter around them, and do so from a patch of space no larger than our solar system. AGNs are typically surrounded by rings of plasma known as accretion discs and can emit powerful jets of radiation from their poles.
Spheres of plasma from wormholes can reach temperatures of about 18 trillion degrees Fahrenheit (10 trillion degrees Celsius). At such heat, the plasma would produce gamma rays with energies of 68 million electron volts.
Conversely, “AGN accretion disks do not emit gamma radiation, because their temperature is too low for that,” Piotrovich said. Additionally, although the AGN’s jets can emit gamma rays, they would travel primarily in the same direction as the jets – any travel in a sphere could suggest they came from a wormhole, he noted.
Furthermore, if an AGN resided in a species of galaxy known as Type I Seyfert – one in which the hot gas was expanding rapidly – previous work suggested it probably would not have generated many gamma rays with energies of 68 million electron volts. If astronomers saw an AGN in a type I Seyfert galaxy with a significant peak of such rays, that could mean that the apparent AGN was actually a wormhole, the researchers said.
Scientists have detailed their findings online Aug. 21 in a study accepted for publication in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices.
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