A new theory advanced by cosmologists postulates that black holes may endure a “quantum bounce” effect as they age, transforming into white holes and spewing forth all of the material they have absorbed back into the universe.
When a dying star collapses under its own weight, a super-dense black hole is formed. A spherical event horizon obscures the black hole from outside observation, as nothing that passes it can escape, even light. Scientists have long debated about whether black holes destroy the information and matter that they consume. A new theory posits that quantum-gravity effects could cause a black hole to transform into its total opposite, a white hole, which would explosively pour matter back into the universe.
— New Scientist (@newscientist) July 21, 2014
According to Nature, the suggestion that black holes become white holes is based on a quantum theory of gravity, which speculates that space-time is granular. If space-time itself is quantized, woven from tiny, individual loops that represent the smallest possible subdivision of the universal fabric, they could reverse gravitational collapse in a black hole. At some point, the quantum gravity loops become so compressed, they exert an outward pressure, referred to as a quantum bounce. Due to the complex relationship between gravity and time, this process remains shrouded from observation, even while occurring:
“The theory suggests that the transition from black hole to white hole would take place right after the initial formation of the black hole, but because gravity dilates time, outside observers would see the black hole lasting billions or trillions of years or more, depending on its size. If the authors are correct, tiny black holes that formed during the very early history of the Universe would now be ready to pop off like firecrackers and might be detected as high-energy cosmic rays or other radiation. In fact, they say, their work could imply that some of the dramatic flares commonly considered to be supernova explosions could in fact be the dying throes of tiny black holes that formed shortly after the Big Bang.”
As io9 relates, the theory is highly speculative. Researchers have yet to flesh out their conclusions with the requisite calculations, while other scientists have called into question the size of the quantum effects. Theoretical physicist Donald Marolf of the University of California, Santa Barbara, cautions that the quantum bounce theory could violate the precept in physics that states entropy can never decrease in a system.
Recently, scientists discovered a rare trio of black holes clustered together, as The Inquisitr noted. While they hope to learn much about the effects of gravity in extreme situations from the formation, other researchers say that the quantum bounce study has put the theory of quantum gravity on surer footing. According to Steven Giddings of the University of California, Santa Barbara, “Understanding how information escapes from a black hole is the key question for the quantum mechanics of black holes, and possibly for quantum gravity itself.”
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