Wild Study Shows Everything in The Universe Will Eventually Evaporate

According to a well-known hypothesis put out by Stephen Hawking, black holes progressively lose mass over time in the form of an odd type of radiation as the event horizon causes havoc with the quantum forces around them.

But it seems that this process may not require the dramatic cliff of an event horizon after all. A high enough slope in the curvature of space-time might accomplish the same thing, according to new study by astrophysicists Michael Wondrak, Walter van Suijlekom, and Heino Falcke of Radboud University in the Netherlands.

This suggests that Hawking radiation, or something very like it, could not be exclusive to black holes. It may be found everywhere, which would indicate that the Universe is progressively dissipating before our very eyes.

Wondrak states, "We show that there is a new form of radiation in addition to the well-known Hawking radiation."

We have never been able to witness hawking radiation, although theory and experiments indicate it is likely.

Here is a very brief description of how it functions. If you know anything about black holes, you probably know that they are gravitationally slurping cosmic hoovers that eat everything in their vicinity with an unstoppable finality.

That's mostly true, however black holes don't have stronger gravitational pulls than other bodies of same mass. They have density, which is a lot of mass crammed into a tiny area. Within a certain vicinity of that dense object, the gravitational pull becomes so strong that escape velocity — the speed needed to escape – is impossible. Not even the speed of light in a vacuum, the fastest object in the Universe, is sufficient. The event horizon is the area in close proximity.

Mathematically, Hawking demonstrated how event boundaries may obstruct the complicated jumble of fluctuations vibrating through the chaos of quantum fields. Waves that ordinarily cancel each other out instead form additional particles due to an imbalance in the probability.

These spontaneously generated particles have a direct connection to the black hole in terms of energy. High energy particles would arise around the event horizon of tiny black holes, swiftly carrying away a significant portion of the black hole's energy and causing the dense object to disappear.

Big black holes would glow with a cool light in hard-to-see ways, slowly losing mass as they lost energy over a much longer period of time.

In the case of electric fields, a behavior quite similar to this one may exist. Strong enough fluctuations in an electric quantum field can upset the equilibrium of virtual electron-positron particles, leading to the emergence of some of them. This phenomenon is known as the Schwinger effect. Contrary to Hawking radiation, the Schwinger effect would just require a phenomenally strong field—no horizon is required.

Wondrak and his colleagues statistically recreated the Schwinger effect under a variety of gravitational situations, wondering whether there was a method for particles to manifest in curved space-time that was similar to the Schwinger effect.

"We show that far beyond a black hole the curvature of space-time plays a big role in creating radiation," says van Suijlekom. "The particles are already separated there by the tidal forces of the gravitational field."

Anything sufficiently large or dense has the ability to significantly bend space-time. In essence, space-time warps around these objects due to their gravitational field. Black holes are the most extreme example, but other dense dead stars like neutron stars and white dwarfs as well as extremely large objects like galaxy clusters also exhibit this phenomenon.

The researchers discovered that in these cases, even in the absence of an event horizon, gravity may still have an impact on quantum field fluctuations to produce new particles that are very similar to Hawking radiation.

That suggests that big things in the universe and those without an event horizon also emit this type of radiation, according to Falcke.

And that would eventually result in everything in the universe dissipating, much like black holes, over a very long period of time. This modifies our knowledge of Hawking radiation as well as our outlook on the cosmos and its future.

However, there is nothing to worry about in the near future. A black hole with the mass of the Sun would need 1064 years to evaporate, and its event horizon is just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) across.

Before we all go in a chilly puff of light, we have some time to kill.

The research has been published in Physical Review Letters, and is available on arXiv.