Black holes could be wormholes in outer space, study shows
If wormholes exist in space, they are very similar to black holes, physicists say. This raises the possibility that we could see them without knowing it.
The universe is full of exciting things, like black holes or merging neutron stars. However, all this looks trite compared to what scientists call wormholes, which hypothetically connect parts of space in different parts of the universe.
Many physicists are skeptical that wormholes exist, or at least that three-dimensional objects can pass through them unharmed.
As telescopes develop, a more and more exciting question arises: if wormholes exist, why have we never discovered them? Four Bulgarian physicists believe that perhaps we simply did not recognize them.
Most of the black holes we’ve identified are known either from their gravitational effects on the stars around them or from the jets of material ejected from their accretion disks. If any of them were indeed wormholes, we would be unlikely to know about it.
However, observing the polarization around M87* with the Event Horizon Telescope and its follow-up to Sagittarius A* is another matter entirely. In these cases, we saw the shadow of the object itself on its event horizon and hoped to spot something that looked like a wormhole.
The possibility of wormholes excites physicists, however, as Petya Nedkova and co-authors of the study from Sofia University note, we do not know what they might look like.
Scientists in their study are trying to solve this problem and come to the conclusion that, when viewed from a large angle, wormholes will not look like anything we have previously seen.
However, the authors believe that at low tilt angles, the wormhole will have a “very similar polarization pattern” to a black hole. Therefore, M87*, seen at the assumed angle of 17°, could be a wormhole and we would not know it.
This does not mean that we are absolutely unable to distinguish between wormholes and black holes.
“More significant differences are observed for highly lensed indirect images, where the polarization intensity of a wormhole can increase by an order of magnitude compared to a black hole,” the authors write.
The lensing does not come from a massive object between us and the hole creating a gravitational lens. The photons’ trajectories are distorted by the hole’s huge gravitational field, causing them to make a partial loop around the hole before heading towards us.
The situation becomes even more complicated if we assume that matter or light can pass through the wormhole in any direction. If so, then signals from the area outside the entrance are able to reach us.
They will change the polarized image of the disk that we see around the hole, while the light coming from another place will have different polarization properties. This can provide what the authors call “a characteristic signature for wormhole geometry detection.”
The authors of the study acknowledge that their findings are based on a “simplified model of a ring of magnetized fluid” orbiting a black hole. More advanced models will help identify differences and use them to distinguish a wormhole from a black hole in other ways.
Article published in Physical Review D.
Extraterrestrial life may be hiding in “terminator zones”
In a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, astrophysicists set out to find out if exoplanets could support life.
Astronomers have come to the conclusion that on the surface of some exoplanets there is a strip that may contain water, necessary for the existence of biological life. The terminator zone is the dividing line between the day and night sides of an exoplanet.
Many exoplanets are planets outside the solar system held by gravity. This means that one side of the planet is always facing the star they orbit, while the other side is in constant darkness.
The water on the dark side will most likely be in a frozen state, while on the light side it will be so hot that the water should just evaporate.
The terminator zone would be a “friendly place” – neither too hot nor too cold – in which liquid water could support extraterrestrial life.
Dr. Ana Lobo of the University of California, said: “The day side can be scalding hot, much uninhabitable, while the night side will be icy, potentially covered in ice. You need a planet that’s the right temperature for liquid water.”
“We’re trying to draw attention to planets with more limited amounts of water that, despite not having widespread oceans, might have lakes or other smaller bodies of liquid water, and that climate could actually be very promising.”
“By exploring these exotic climate states, we are improving our chances of finding and correctly identifying a habitable planet in the near future.”
The researchers created a model of their climate by analyzing different temperatures, wind patterns and radiative forcing, and found the “correct” zone on exoplanets that could contain life-supporting liquid water.
Researchers who are looking for life on exoplanets will now take into account the fact that it can hide in certain areas.
Astronomers discover the strongest evidence for another Universe before the Big Bang
The notion of the Big Bang goes back nearly 100 years, when the first evidence for the expanding Universe appeared.
If the Universe is expanding and cooling today, that implies a past that was smaller, denser, and hotter. In our imaginations, we can extrapolate back to arbitrarily small sizes, high densities, and hot temperatures: all the way to a singularity, where all of the Universe’s matter and energy was condensed in a single point.
For many decades, these two notions of the Big Bang — of the hot dense state that describes the early Universe and the initial singularity — were inseparable.
But beginning in the 1970s, scientists started identifying some puzzles surrounding the Big Bang, noting several properties of the Universe that weren’t explainable within the context of these two notions simultaneously.
When cosmic inflation was first put forth and developed in the early 1980s, it separated the two definitions of the Big Bang, proposing that the early hot, dense state never achieved these singular conditions, but rather that a new, inflationary state preceded it.
There really was a Universe before the hot Big Bang, and some very strong evidence from the 21st century truly proves that it’s so.
Although we’re certain that we can describe the very early Universe as being hot, dense, rapidly expanding, and full of matter-and-radiation — i.e., by the hot Big Bang — the question of whether that was truly the beginning of the Universe or not is one that can be answered with evidence.
The differences between a Universe that began with a hot Big Bang and a Universe that had an inflationary phase that precedes and sets up the hot Big Bang are subtle, but tremendously important. After all, if we want to know what the very beginning of the Universe was, we need to look for evidence from the Universe itself.
Read the full article here.
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