According to Stephen Hawking’s famous theory, black holes evaporate over time, gradually losing mass in the form of strange types of radiation when the phenomenon disturbs the surrounding quantum fields.
But it is clear that the steep slope of the event may not be the most important factor in this. According to a new study by physicists Michael Wondrak, Walter van Suijlekom, and Heino Falcke of Radboud University in the Netherlands, a sufficient slippage of the curvature of space-time may do the same.
This means that Hawking radiation, or something like it, cannot be produced by black holes alone. It could be anywhere, meaning that the Universe is moving slowly before our eyes.
“We show that,” says Wondrak, “in addition to the well-known Hawking radiation, there is also a new type of radiation.”
Hawking radiation is something we haven’t been able to see, but theory and experiments show that it makes sense.
Here is a simple explanation of how it works. If you know anything about black holes, they’re probably cosmic hooves, pulling in everything nearby, with an irreversible ending, right?
Well, it’s more or less, but black holes have no more gravity than any other similar body. What they have is abundance: a great deal packed into a very small space. Closer to the dense object, the gravitational force is so strong that escape velocity – the speed required to escape – is impossible. Even the speed of light in a vacuum, the fastest thing in the Universe, is not enough. That proximity is known as the edge of the scene.
Hawking showed mathematically that exposure to phenomena can disrupt the complex mixing of fluctuations caused by the turbulence of quantum fields. Waves often stop doing so, creating an imbalance that produces new particles.
The energy inside the particles they emit directly interacts with the black hole. Smaller holes can see energetic particles forming near the point of the event, which can absorb much of the hole’s energy very quickly. and cause the thick substance to disappear quickly.
Supermassive black holes emit cold light in ways that would be hard to detect, causing the black hole to slowly lose its energy as a mass over time.
A a very similar phenomenon occurs in electrical fields. Known as the Schwinger effect, large enough fluctuations in the electric field can disrupt the electron-positron balance, causing others to exist. Unlike Hawking radiation, however, the Schwinger effect would require no visible – very strong field.
Wondering if there was a way for particles to appear in warped time that was similar to Schwinger’s results, Wondrak and his fellow mathematicians produced the same results under different conditions of gravity.
“We show that beyond the black hole, the curvature of space-time contributes significantly to the production of radiation,” explains van Suijlekom. “Particles are already separated by gravity.”
Anything larger or denser would create a larger time warp. Basically, the gravitational pull of these objects causes space-time to spin. Black holes are the most extreme example, but spacetime also twists around other dead stars such as neutron stars and white stars, as well as massive objects such as galaxies.
In these cases, the researchers found, gravity can still affect the fluctuations of the quantum parameters that cause the particles to be very similar to Hawking radiation, without the need for a catalyst to occur.
“This means that invisible objects, such as the remnants of dead stars and other large objects in the Universe, also contain this type of radiation,” says Falcke.
“And, after a very long time, this would make everything in the Universe stationary, like black holes. This changes not only our understanding of Hawking radiation but also our view of the universe and its future.”
You have nothing to worry about in the future. It would take a black hole the mass of the Sun (with a distance of only 6 km or 3.7 miles, along the way) 1064 years to change.
We have time to kill before we are all destroyed by the cold light.
Research has been published in Physical Review Lettersand is available on arXiv.