Black holes, the connect between quantum and relativity, are slowly giving up their secrets via exquisite tech able to see how these mysterious systems work.
Scientists have charted the environment surrounding a stellar-mass black hole that is 10 times the mass of the Sun using the NICER payload aboard the International Space Station. NICER detected X-ray light from the recently discovered black hole, called MAXI J1820+070 (J1820 for short), as it consumed material from a companion star. Waves of X-rays formed “light echoes” that reflected off the swirling gas near the black hole and revealed changes in the environment’s size and shape.
“NICER has allowed us to measure light echoes closer to a stellar-mass black hole than ever before,” said Erin Kara, an astrophysicist at the University of Maryland, College Park and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who presented the findings at the 233rd American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.
“Previously, these light echoes off the inner accretion disk were only seen in supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of solar masses and undergo changes slowly. Stellar black holes like J1820 have much lower masses and evolve much faster, so we can see changes play out on human time scales.”
What's really interesting is if the echoes mean something else altogether ...
"Wormholes do not have an event horizon, but act as a space-time shortcut that can be traversed, a kind of very long throat that takes us to another universe," says Pablo Bueno from KU Leuven University (Belgium). "The confirmation of echoes in the LIGO or Virgo signals would be a practically irrefutable proof that astrophysical black holes don't exist. Time will tell if these echoes exist or not. If the result were positive, it would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of physics."
The scientific collaborations LIGO and Virgo have detected gravitational waves from the fusion of two black holes, inaugurating a new era in the study of the cosmos. But what if those ripples of space-time were not produced by black holes, but by other exotic objects? A team of European physicists suggest an alternative—wormholes that can be traversed to appear in another universe.
Wormhole Echoes Would Be One of the Greatest Discoveries Ever –“Irrefutable Proof That Black Holes Don’t Exist”
Something's afoot - Sherlock Holmes