Black holes are some of the most mysterious objects in space. They are known as “cosmic vacuum cleaners” that absorb everything in their vicinity. But as it turns out, they can also evaporate. According to the well-known theory of Stephen Hawking, black holes evaporate over time, the cause of this process is the release of particles and photons in particular in the form of radiation around the holes. Quantum fields in such case are destroyed by the event horizon.
However, a new study by astrophysicists from the University of Nijmegen has shown that the event horizon is sometimes not critical for this process. A sufficiently steep tilt in the curvature of space-time could lead to the same result. This means that Hawking radiation, or something very similar to it, may not be limited to black holes. This theoretical model could extend to everything, and the universe could, on that basis, slowly evaporate. Thus, besides Hawking radiation, there is another form of similar radiation.
How does it work?
Black holes are objects that have such strong gravity that even light cannot leave their surface. If you are close enough to a black hole, its gravity becomes so strong that it becomes impossible to develop the speed of light. But by reaching it, you could avoid this attraction. Sometimes it even becomes impossible to reach the speed of light in a vacuum, the highest in the universe. That distance from the black hole at which it becomes impossible to do so is called the event horizon.
Hawking showed mathematically that event horizons can interfere with a complex mixture of fluctuations pulsating in the chaos of quantum fields. The waves that used to balance the process no longer do so. The result is an imbalance that leads to the formation of new particles and radiation.
The energy within these particles is related to the black hole. In their small representatives near the event horizon, high energy particles would form. They could absorb a large amount of black hole energy and would cause the object to disappear. Large black holes would glow with cold light and lose their energy, like mass, much longer.
Hypothetically, similar phenomena occur in electric fields. These phenomena are known as the Schwinger effect. In short, it is when matter is created from a strong electron field. And unlike the concept described by Hawking, they don’t need an event horizon to create something new – in the case of the radiation cosmos, and in the case of the electron field of matter. But here it is worth recalling that this is also a theory.
Researchers have asked the question: is there a way for a study to appear in curved space-time, similar to the Schwinger effect? That is, can radiation be created in space that takes the energy of a black hole and destroys it, without the help of the event horizon? In order to answer it, scientists mathematically reproduced the same effect in different gravitational conditions.
In the end, the new study showed that black holes aren’t the only ones that vaporize. There are other objects in space that can evaporate without the aid of an event horizon. This opens up new possibilities for exploring the cosmos and understanding its nature.