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posted by janrinok on Sunday June 01 2014, @02:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-keeps-getting-more-complicated dept.

Zilong Li and Cosimo Bambi with Fudan University in Shanghai have come up with a very novel idea--those black holes that are believed to exist at the center of a lot of galaxies, may instead by wormholes. They've written a paper [abstract], uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, describing their idea and how what they've imagined could be proved right (or wrong) by a new instrument soon to be added to an observatory in Chile.

From the article:

Back in 1974, space scientists discovered Sagittarius A* (SgrA*) - bright source of radio waves emanating from what appeared to be near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Subsequent study of the object led scientists to believe that it was (and is) a black hole - the behavior of stars nearby, for example, suggested it was something massive and extremely dense.

What we're able to see when we look at SgrA* are plasma gasses near the event horizon, not the object itself as light cannot escape. That should be true for wormholes too, of course, which have also been theorized to exist by the Theory of General Relativity. Einstein even noted the possibility of their existence. Unfortunately, no one has ever come close to proving the existence of wormholes, which are believed to be channels between different parts of the universe, or even between two universes in multi-universe theories. In their paper, Li and Bambi suggest that there is compelling evidence suggesting that many of the objects we believe to be black holes at the center of galaxies, may in fact be wormholes.

Plasma gases orbiting a black hole versus a wormhole should look different to us, the pair suggest, because wormholes should be a lot smaller. Plus, the presence of wormholes would help explain how it is that even new galaxies have what are now believed to be black holes - such large black holes would presumably take a long time to become so large, so how can they exist in a new galaxy? They can't Li and Bambi conclude, instead those objects are actually wormholes, which theory suggests could spring up in an instant, and would have, following the Big Bang.

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  • (Score: 1) by Walzmyn on Monday June 02 2014, @12:41AM

    by Walzmyn (987) on Monday June 02 2014, @12:41AM (#50045)

    How does this get called a novel idea? Maybe they've got a novel bit of Math behind it but I've been hearing this idea from scientists and sci fi writers for decades.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @07:33AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @07:33AM (#50115)

    Unless you can point me to a paper -- or, apparently, a story -- with the same idea I'm not inclined to believe that. Please bear in mind that "the black hole at the centre of the galaxy might be a wormhole!!!!!!!" isn't the novelty in the paper. Papers in astronomy are very rarely entirely convulsive and are instead incremental. The title *should* explain what the enhancement is, and the abstract is structured so that the first half summarises the issue and the second half the enhancement. So here the title is

    "Distinguishing black holes and wormholes with orbiting hot spots"

    which clearly states that the novelty is that they think they can distinguish between a supermassive black hole and a supermassive wormhole through what they dub as "orbiting hot spots". To learn precisely what those actually are, and what prospects we might have to do this in reality, we have to dig further. So lets look at the abstract.

    "The supermassive black hole candidates at the center of every normal galaxy might be wormholes created in the early Universe and connecting either two different regions of our Universe or two different universes in a Multiverse model. Indeed, the origin of these supermassive objects is not well understood, topological non-trivial structures like wormholes are allowed both in general relativity and in alternative theories of gravity, and current observations cannot rule out such a possibility."

    This is a summary of the current state of affairs, which has been speculated over for quite a few decades, as you say.

    "In a few years, the VLTI instrument GRAVITY will have the capability to image blobs of plasma orbiting near the innermost stable circular orbit of SgrA*, the supermassive black hole candidate in the Milky Way. The secondary image of a hot spot orbiting around a wormhole is substantially different from the one of a hot spot around a black hole, because the photon capture sphere of the wormhole is much smaller, and its detection could thus test if the center of our Galaxy harbors a wormhole rather then a black hole."

    This is the novel part, that there will be an instrument called GRAVITY attached to the VLTI which will be observing Sagittarius A*, and that the authors have developed a means that they believe could allow us to distinguish between the black hole and the wormhole.

    So unless you're actually meaning that sci-fi authors have for decades been speculating on the relatively arcane idea that we might see hotspots dancing around black holes and wormholes that are characteristically different, I think you're probably mistaken. And let's face it, it's not the type of idea that particularly easily leads to fascinating plots.