The most widely accepted theory on the gravitational waves says that they are the result of a supernova or an instance of two massive objects orbiting each other or colliding. It is believed that two black holes either rotating or colliding are responsible for emissions of gravitational waves. But what if black holes do not exist? Could we explain these events using the theoretical objects called wormholes? A team of physicists based in Belgium is trying to find out if wormholes’ existence provides an answer.
Disturbances in the fabric of space-time, gravitational waves were first observed by astronomers in 2015, when Einstein’s theory of general relativity was confirmed. This gravitational wave event originated from the merging process of two black holes.
Since according to the principles of quantum physics information can never be lost, it contradicts the theory of black holes, which are supposed to absorb everything that passes their way with no way of return. In order to find a solution that wouldn’t violate the rules of quantum physics, the scientists are investigating the possibility of existence of objects called wormholes. Predicted by Einstein, these theoretical tunnels in space-time could be used as a shortcut to another universe. Moreover, as they don’t have an event horizon, the information wouldn’t get lost.
The ringdown and its echo
The focal point of the study is the last part of the gravitational signal, called a ringdown, which signifies the last phase of a collision. Since the ringdown disappears completely without producing any echo, it seems to prove that an event horizon exists, therefore confirming the existence of black holes. In case the gravitational waves are produced by wormholes, there would be an echo present after the ringdown.
At this moment we do not have any proof of the existence of echoes, which indicates that gravitational waves are created by black holes. However, echoes might exist, but scientists are unable to detect them as of yet.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca