Until recently, it was believed that everything that came in contact with a black hole would be pulled in and swallowed due to its huge gravity. Unfortunately, it has been challenging to prove or disprove any contrary theories, because no one has ever really gotten close enough to study a black hole — until recently, that is.
According to Stephen Hawkins, not everything that comes in contact with a black hole is sucked in by it. Hawkins proposed that “tiny particles of light, known as protons, are sometimes ejected back out of the black hole.”
The particles escaping the grab of the gravitational singularity can also be considered as energy escaping. The energy of these tiny particles escaping a black hole has been coined “Hawking radiation.”
Due to the fact that black holes are just too far away to study, all explanations and models about them are possibly doomed to remain theories.
Lab sized black hole
Physicist Jeff Steinhauer from Technion University in Haifa, Israel, might have found a way to bring a black hole to the lab, since the lab can’t go to the black hole.
Steinhauer created a lab-sized “black-hole” made from sound.
“Steinhauer said he had found signs that phonons, the very small packets of energy that make up sound waves, were leaking out of his sonic black hole just as Hawking’s equations predict they should,” according to Oliver Moody in his article for The Times.
The sonic black hole experiment has not been peer-reviewed yet. Those interested in reading about the experiment can read the paper, which is available to the public.
Could this latest breakthrough in the field of black hole research eventually bring Stephen Hawing closer to receiving a Nobel prize for his lifelong pursuit to understand the mechanics of black holes? And once we understand how black holes work, what will we do with that knowledge?