Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Yet another example that we don’t know what we assume we already know.
Original writer and publication date: Mara Johnson-Groh – October 1, 2019
If you were to dive into a black hole (something we would not recommend), you”d likely find a singularity, or an infinitely small and dense point, at the center. Or that”s what physicists have always thought.
But now a pair of scientists suggests that some black holes may not be black holes at all. Instead, they may be weird objects chock-full of dark energy — the mysterious force thought to be pushing at the bounds of the universe, causing it to expand at an ever-increasing rate.
Related: 9 Ideas About Black Holes that Will Blow Your Mind
“If what we thought were black holes are actually objects without singularities, then the accelerated expansion of our universe is a natural consequence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity,” said Kevin Croker, an astrophysicist at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
Croker and a colleague describe this idea in a new study, published online Aug. 28 in the Astrophysical Journal. If they are right, and the singularity at the heart of a black hole could be replaced by a weird energy flinging everything apart, that may revolutionize the way we think about these dense objects.
The duo was not out to uncover what’s inside a black hole. Croker and Joel Weiner, a professor emeritus in mathematics at the same university, were looking at Friedmann’s equations, which are simplified from Einstein’s theory of general relativity. (Relativity describes how mass and energy warp space-time.) Physicists use Friedmann’s equations to describe the expansion of the universe, in part because the math is simpler than in Einstein’s body of equations describing relativity. The team found that, in order to properly write down Friedmann’s equations, ultradense and isolated regions of space, like neutron stars and black holes, had to be treated in the same mathematical way as all other areas. Previously, cosmologists believed it was reasonable to ignore the internal details of ultradense and isolated regions, such as the inside of a black hole.
“We showed there’s only one way to [construct these equations] correctly,” Croker told Live Science. “And if you do it that one way, which is the correct way to do it, you find some interesting things.”