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Forget Black Holes, How Do You Find A Wormhole?

An artists impression of what it would look like inside a wormhole. Pretty. (credit: Space.com)
Finding a black hole is an easy task… compared with searching for a wormhole. Suspected black holes have a massive gravitational effect on planets, stars and even galaxies, generating radiation, producing jets and accretion disks. Black holes will even bend light through gravitational lensing. Now, try finding a wormhole… Any ideas? Well, a Russian researcher thinks he has found an answer, but a highly sensitive radio telescope plus a truckload of patience (I’d imagine) is needed to find a special wormhole signature…

A wormhole connecting two points within spacetime.
Wormholes are a valid consequence of Einstein’s general relativity view on the universe. A wormhole, in theory, acts as a shortcut or tunnel through space and time. There are several versions on the same theme (i.e. wormholes may link different universes; they may link the two separate locations in the same universe; they may even link black and white holes together), but the physics is similar, wormholes create a link two locations in space-time, bypassing normal three dimensional travel through space. Also, it is theorized, that matter can travel through some wormholes fuelling sci-fi stories like in the film Stargate or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. If wormholes do exist however, it is highly unlikely that you’ll find a handy key to open the mouth of a wormhole in your back yard, they are likely to be very elusive and you’ll probably need some specialist equipment to travel through them (although this will be virtually impossible).

Alexander Shatskiy, from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, has an idea how these wormholes may be observed. For a start, they can be distinguished from black holes, as wormhole mouths do not have an event horizon. Secondly, if matter could possibly travel through wormholes, light certainly can, but the light emitted will have a characteristic angular intensity distribution. If we were viewing a wormhole’s mouth, we would be witness to a circle, resembling a bubble, with intense light radiating from the inside “rim”. Looking toward the center, we would notice the light sharply dim. At the center we would notice no light, but we would see right through the mouth of the wormhole and see stars (from our side of the universe) shining straight through.

For the possibility to observe the wormhole mouth, sufficiently advanced radio interferometers would be required to look deep into the extreme environments of galactic cores to distinguish this exotic cosmic ghost from its black hole counterpart.

However, just because wormholes are possible does not mean they do exist. They could simply be the mathematical leftovers of general relativity. And even if they do exist, they are likely to be highly unstable, so any possibility of traveling through time and space will be short lived. Besides, the radiation passing through will be extremely blueshifted, so expect to burn up very quickly. Don’t pack your bags quite yet…

Source: arXiv publication


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Hello! My name is Ian O'Neill and I've been writing for the Universe Today since December 2007. I am a solar physics doctor, but my space interests are wide-ranging. Since becoming a science writer I have been drawn to the more extreme astrophysics concepts (like black hole dynamics), high energy physics (getting excited about the LHC!) and general space colonization efforts. I am also heavily involved with the Mars Homestead project (run by the Mars Foundation), an international organization to advance our settlement concepts on Mars. I also run my own space physics blog: Astroengine.com, be sure to check it out!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • N Stone January 25, 2008, 10:40 PM

    remember that the four dimensions do not limit us in any way, they are a way of thought more than fact

  • N Stone January 25, 2008, 11:32 PM

    imagine the extreme crazy new breakthroughs mankind could make if we could find out what could make up a wormhole. My guess is that it has no mass at all and is a result of volume into an orderly form. I say this because if it had mass than gravity would pull the mass together into the center, obstructing the veiw through space(and time?). but if there was some way that there could be this energy or whatever it is (maybe a form of antimatter that accelerated things through space/time just as matter slows it down) there would be no mass to obstruct other mass or light to pass through.

    think of a ditch, or hole, there is only air in that hole air has more empty space (less mass) and therefore less friction (as opposed to running into a brick wall–lots of friction) and so less friction means that you could go farther or faster with less energy. more mass=more friction – this is why in space, a vacuum, (no mass) things can go on in undisturbed paths without slowing down.

    the higgs boson – which may be a particle that makes up mass – might have an opposite particle or “anti-higgs boson” that may accelerate mass instead of deccelerate it with friction

    this “anti-higgs boson” might be the answer

  • Gort January 25, 2008, 11:35 PM

    There once was a lady called Bright
    Who traveled much SLOWER than light,
    She took off one day
    In the sub C way,
    And returned on the FOLLOWING night

  • N Stone January 25, 2008, 11:36 PM

    this may also explain why some sattelites and space shuttles accelerate slightly without reason
    –look in the “Physics” Section–

  • Pedro January 27, 2008, 2:30 AM

    I refuse to imagine a world without people thinking of wormholes and other crazy mathematical stuff. I read in an article that, when laser light was invented, the Mathew’s and the Ritchie’s of that time said it was a very much useless invention because they didn’t see any pratical aplication for that thing.
    Laser light useless… yeah… sure it is…

  • nicky nichols February 2, 2008, 5:28 PM

    I found Chrix’s remarks above very intriguing.

    I consider it perfectly realistic that correctly sized wormholes must channel the externally transmitted ELF brainwave patterns generated as a result of the parametric down conversion of internal HF thought processes of intelligent beings elsewhere in this and possibly other universes.

  • phobos February 2, 2008, 11:27 PM


  • NazB February 5, 2008, 6:29 AM

    Worm holes are all around us in the fabric of space, since at the quantum level where there are already many dimensions, threads of zero time run through these dimensions and link them.
    This is why particles can appear anywhere in space time instantly
    How you can make quantum sized wormholes into gigantic ones seems rather intriguing but essentially un-necessary from a physics point of view.

  • phobos February 5, 2008, 12:20 PM

    I dream of wormholes being large enough to be used as “jumps” into other universes. I’m ready to leave this one if another Republican is elected president.

  • James Ryall February 9, 2008, 9:33 PM

    heres a little one for you.

    wormholes are made up of a black hole and a white hole, but if you had two black holes meeting in the middle matter would be pushed down infanatly small and super accelerated till it reaches “the middle”.
    at which point to particals of matter would bang together and possibly split at an unimaginable rate.

    if so much matter is pushed together and then split appart again… wate for it…

    another big bang.
    all i have seen on black holes is it sucks matter in. and white holes spew matter out.
    but did any one think of linking the black holes with “other dimentions”…

    sorry for the bad spelling, its not one of my strong points.

    as far as the theroy of black holes go no one knows and theres my theroy.
    beat that for a nice conversation over a pint with the old man.

    James Ryall.
    (a 19yr old kid from bristol UK, with an imagination)

    again sorry for the bad spelling…

  • M Jones February 11, 2008, 8:21 PM

    I think N Stones Remarks explain much of the questions that scientists have about these things

  • dutchartistjelke April 10, 2008, 2:58 AM

    Did you know that on our earth there are also wormholes in which people disappear of whom we think that they have been assassinated or have been kidnapped? and that the population of worms in our ground be the largest on earth that they be the best food to eat and that they have so much oil we can use it for energy .
    In space
    Worm holes come througout energy wind circulations in space it ,s like a tornado on earth .

  • Astronomy November 1, 2008, 10:10 PM

    There are several wormholes.I will explain the one where there is a White Hole and Black Hole making up the wormhole. In my point of view, the side with the black hole will suck you in (since black holes suck in matter), and then the white hole side spits you out (since white holes are described to spit out matter).

  • How to Get Six Pack Fast April 15, 2009, 7:47 AM

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