Do you think micro black holes, or quantum mechanical black holes, are a thing of science-fiction? Think again.
A new study by a group of scientists suggests that micro black holes pass through Earth every single day. Don’t panic just yet, though.
Although a micro black hole, sometimes referred to as “cosmic ghosts” by space experts, has next to zero mass, it is just as small as an atom and maintains barely a gravitational pull. This means it would act much differently than its stellar black hole counterpart.
At the size of an atom, micro black holes would not swallow much matter. In fact, for a micro black hole to disembowel the Earth, it would take billions of years, or as long as the Universe exists or expands. However, Stephen Hawking concludes that a micro black hole would evaporate at a rapid rate because it loses mass in the form of radiation.
When a mini black hole does attract matter, though, it will circle the black hole from the event horizon (the point of no return) and not be absorbed. Fortunately, matter will rarely get close enough to a micro black hole to be eviscerated.
Study authors officially call micro black holes with orbiting material Gravitational Equivalents of an Atom (GEAs).
“GEAs would not cause any damage to you,” said Aaron VanDevender, study co-author and researcher at Halcyon Molecular, in an interview with Discovery News. “An atom bound to the GEA might get stripped off and collide into you, but you wouldn’t notice. It’s a very small amount of energy.”
How do micro black holes form? Astronomers believe that mini black holes formed in the high-density environment of the big bang and during the early Universe. Astrophysicists will soon be able to observe these primordial black holes in the future because of Hawking radiation (thermal radiation emitted by black holes).
“We think of gravity as always being an attractive force, and in the case of very large black holes, that attraction is so great that it’s going to pull everything into it,” added VanDevender. “But in those cases, you’re pulling it into a very large event horizon. You have a very large space to absorb things into.”
Scientists are intrigued by these entities because mini black holes that consist of approximately 100,000 kg of mass may be a contender for dark matter – a form of matter that is prevalent to the formation of the universe.
In fact, if dark matter is made up of mini black holes, then roughly 400 of them pass through Earth annually.