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The objects scientists think are black holes could instead be wormholes leading to other universes, a new study says. If so, it would help resolve a quantum conundrum known as the black hole information paradox, but critics say it would also raise new problems, such as how the wormholes would form in the first place.
Wormholes are warps in the fabric of space-time that connect one place to another. If you imagine the universe as a two-dimensional sheet, you can picture a wormhole as a "throat" connecting our sheet to another one. In this scenario, the other sheet could be a universe of its own, with its own stars, galaxies and planets.
Damour and Solodukhin studied what such a wormhole might look like, and were surprised to discover that it would mimic a black hole so well that it would be virtually impossible to tell the difference.
Matter would swirl around a wormhole in the same way as for a black hole, since both objects distort the space around them in the same way.
One might hope to distinguish the two by something called Hawking radiation, an emission of particles and light which should only come from black holes and would have a characteristic energy spectrum. But this radiation is so weak that it would be completely swamped by other sources, such as the background glow of microwaves left over from the big bang, making it unobservable in practice.
And there might be a way to test the conjecture. Some physicists say that future particle accelerator experiments could produce microscopic black holes (see Atom smasher may give birth to 'Black Saturns').
Such tiny black holes would emit measurable amounts of Hawking radiation, proving that they are black holes rather than wormholes. But if Solodukhin is right, and microscopic wormholes are formed instead, no such radiation would be expected. "In that case, you would actually see if it is a black hole or a wormhole," he says.
An added benefit of wormholes is that they could resolve the so-called black hole information paradox. The only way anything can exit a black hole is in the form of Hawking radiation, but it is not clear how the radiation carries information about the original object that was swallowed. This scrambling effect conflicts with quantum mechanics, which forbids such erasing of information (see Black holes: The ultimate quantum computers?).
"Theoretically, wormholes are much better than black holes because all these problems with information loss don't exist in this case," Solodukhin says. Since wormholes have no event horizons, things are free to leave without first being converted into Hawking radiation, so there is no problem with lost information.
Originally posted by FudgeStix
I'm certainly no expert when it comes to space (who is really?), but surely this theory is a load of rubbish? If black holes are worm holes, how come the Hubble Telescope has never picked up one spewing stuff, out instead of sucking it in? Surely If worm holes existed, then would there not be ways out of other universes to ours?
Of course I could be wrong, but I find the theory incredibly unlikely. Interesting article all the same .
Originally posted by Foxe
Wormholes can be one way. Go in, appear in next universe. Might be a trickle down affect... Our Universe -> next -> next -> next... no way back... or perhaps, to get back into our universe, is to exit into our 'big bang', which was really the worm hole exit... or perhaps, there is only one exit still out there, but out of visual range / unseen yet.
Originally posted by FudgeStix
If black holes are worm holes, how come the Hubble Telescope has never picked up one spewing stuff, out instead of sucking it in? Surely If worm holes existed, then would there not be ways out of other universes to ours?