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When Black Holes Explode: Measuring the Emission from the Fifth Dimension

Exploding primordial black holes could be detected (credit: Wired.com)
Primordial black holes are remnants of the Big Bang and they are predicted to be knocking around in our universe right now. If they were 1012kg or bigger at the time of creation, they have enough mass to have survived constant evaporation from Hawking radiation over the 14 billion years since the beginning of the cosmos. But what happens when the tiny black hole evaporates so small that it becomes so tightly wrapped around the structure of a fifth dimension (other than the “normal” three spatial dimensions and one time dimension)? Well, the black hole will explosively show itself, much like an elastic band snapping, emitting energy. These final moments will signify that the primordial black hole has died. What makes this exciting is that researchers believe they can detect these events as spikes of radio wave emissions and the hunt has already begun…

Publications about primordial black holes have been very popular in recent years. There is the possibility that these ancient singularities are very common in the Universe, but as they are predicted to be quite small, their effect on local space isn’t likely to be very observable (unlike younger, super-massive black holes at the centre of galaxies or the stellar black holes remaining after supernovae). However, they could be quite mischievous. Some primordial black hole antics include kicking around asteroids if they pass through the solar system, blasting through the Earth at high velocity, or even getting stuck inside a planet, slowly eating up material like a planetary parasite.

But say if these big bang relics never come near the Earth and we never see their effect on Earth (a relief, we can do without a primordial black hole playing billiards with near Earth asteroids or the threat of a mini black hole punching through the planet!)? How are we ever going to observe these theoretical singularities?

Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array (credit: Virginia Tech)

Now, the ultimate observatory has been realized, but it measures a fairly observable cosmic emission: radio waves. The Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array (ETA) run by Virginia Tech Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics, and the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), is currently taking high cadence radio wave observations and has been doing so for the past few months. This basic-looking antenna system, in fields in Montgomery County and North Carolina, could receive emissions in the 29-47 MHz frequencies, giving researchers a unique opportunity to see primordial black holes as they die.

Interestingly, if their predictions are correct, this could provide evidence for the existence of a fifth dimension, a dimension operating at scales of billionths of a nanometer. If this exotic emission can be received, and if it is corroborated by both antennae, this could be evidence of the string theory prediction that there are more dimensions than the four we currently understand.

The idea we’re exploring is that the universe has an imperceptibly small dimension (about one billionth of a nanometer) in addition to the four that we know currently. This extra dimension would be curled up, in a state similar to that of the entire universe at the time of the Big Bang.” – Michael Kavic, project investigator.

As black holes are wrapped around this predicted fifth dimension, as they slowly evaporate and lose mass, eventually primordial black holes will be so stressed and stretched around the fifth dimension that the black hole will die, blasting out emissions in radio wave frequencies.

String theory requires extra dimensions to be a consistent theory. String theory suggests a minimum of 10 dimensions, but we’re only considering models with one extra dimension.” – Kavic

When the Large Hadron Collider goes online in May, it is hoped that the high energies generated may produce mini-black holes (amongst other cool things) where research can be done to look for the string theory extra dimensions. But the Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array looking for the death of “naturally occurring” primordial black holes is a far less costly endeavour and may achieve the same goal.

Here’s an article on a theory that there could be 10 dimensions.

Source: Nature


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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.

  • joseph March 17, 2008, 12:51 PM

    C Webster Rose,

    Check out this video- http://www.tenthdimension.com/medialinks.php

    I haven’t read the book but this clip should help you begin to understand the theory.

  • roger caspaccio March 17, 2008, 12:52 PM

    Hi Ian, please ignore all these people that do not understand the true value of your work.

    You are the idol of the ones that have less brains to understand all these complicated mathematics.

    In your articles i have always get the feeling to understand the deepest depths of the universe.

    This is a gift.
    You make the most advanced theories and the extremely difficult physics a piece of cake also for blockheads like me – at least you make me feel so.

    thanks forgiving me a 3 digit IQ.

    Go ahead, Roger

  • Alberts Hussie March 17, 2008, 1:05 PM

    Yes, any might expresses hope and enough fantasy to believe in.

    Certainly it needs believers.
    But hey, thats what universe today is all about.
    Believers and adepts.

    That makes us strong and makes the difference to all those real scientists.
    they only accept what is proven.

    We are free to dream with Ian anything that sounds good.

    primordial black holes from LHC.
    Hawking radiation that difts slowly in 6 or seven or 11 or 20 dimensions.

    I dont care. It is beautiful in itself.

    Ian give us more of this fine stuff.

    We pay you by visiting the site and let you make money with the ads.

    fair deal.

  • Stephan Hawqueens March 17, 2008, 1:18 PM

    Yes Ian you are right. My apologies
    It just came so clear to me that you stultify the readers here..
    But I am wrong for sure.
    You for sure have the best intentions. Power to the science prophet.

  • sparky March 17, 2008, 1:44 PM

    Hehe cool name brotha man Stephan Hawqueen.
    I think you were thinking about Stephen Hawking huh ? cool man.

    Dont blame my friend Ian. He is a serious guy. It is not him that asks for stories about black holes and a dozen of dimension. He is just a slave to our wishes.

    You are very likely just one of this smart asses that cant stand the humor of Ian.
    Chill out and enjoy when Ian delivers what we want.
    bernard right

  • belinda birdleg March 17, 2008, 2:03 PM

    Krishna you speak from the bottom of my heart.

    I hate it when my boyfriend talks in miracles about astrophysics. Ian is my favorite writer. It is so inspiring when he explains these fancy things like black holes and tells these scary stories about them.
    It often gives me goose bumps. ooohh.
    And I can tease my boy friend by repeating some of Ians sentences. It is great fun.

    thanks Ian

  • cathbad March 17, 2008, 2:11 PM

    quote: There’s a lot of “ifs”, “mights” and “coulds”, but all doing well over the next few years we can begin finding some definites :-)

    lol, Ian you are so double-tongued with your readers.

  • Astrofiend March 17, 2008, 6:55 PM

    Wow Stephan Hawqueens, way to go the personal attack on a guy just reporting on a story. The fact you feel such outrage at something so inconsequential says it all, so how’s this? I hope you die of Ebola.

    Now, I care not one way or the other for String Theory, but all of you armchair ‘scientists’ and your anti-string theory rants – Blah Blah Blah. Umm, we’ve HEARD IT ALL BEFORE. Yes, string theory is highly speculative. No, it is currently not backed by any sort of empiric evidence or currently testable. But just because something is not currently testable does not mean that it isn’t fundamentally falsifiable, which is the actual prerequisite for a scientific theory, isn’t it?

    If you recall, general relativity wasn’t testable when it was proposed either. A while later, ONE TEST was made and passed, namely the shift in the perihelion of Mercury, and that was it for years. It is STILL on the limits of our abilities to make stringent tests of GR. But even though it wasn’t, at that stage, testable, it was falsifiable. Just because something is beyond our current ability to test does not mean it is not true, or at least a close approximation.

    I mean, I don’t really want to argue the point too far seeing as I’m sure that you’ve all thought about it very hard. You may have even read ‘A Brief History of Tme’ and several other serious tomes on the subject. So I’ll just put it out there – seeing as you are so acquainted with the machinery of particle physics and cosmology, and seeing as your sense of beauty and aesthetic lead you to strongly feel that string theory can’t be correct, what papers have you published in the journals recently that have a better explanatory power and are currently testable?

  • alokmohan March 17, 2008, 10:26 PM

    There may be primodial black holes but it is pure supposion.We are keep on waitng when it explodes.But 5th dimension ics not well established.

  • Stephan Hawqueens March 18, 2008, 2:35 AM

    Hi Astrofiend,
    it is not my fault that Ian traps you with exactly posting the kind of speculation that you love to hear.
    When he manipulates you as an armchair scientist it is probably not his fault but yours.
    Leave me alone with the ‘just reporting’ argument.
    Any reporter has a choice what the reports on.
    Ian is not doomed to be a trafficker for you.
    Thanks for the Ebola wishes by the way, you little saucy bugger.

    As for the string theory.
    I think it is not there to be taken as a kind of religion for crackpots that dream of a reason.
    It is work in progress with stunning results in consolidation of GTR and QT. The difference to the speculation here is that there are some bright minds working seriously in theorethical physics.
    The empirical verification might never come, or only in some decades when the current constructs of String theory have evolved to something completely different.
    As Ian said it. He can make a living for years by delivering speculations to your type of scientist.

  • francois chateau March 18, 2008, 3:02 AM

    Bonjour Monsieur O’Neill

    the funding of LHC was not really dedicated to hunting primordial black holes.
    I dont think that the spending of money gives evidence to the significance of a speculation by some fanfarons.
    Votre bien dévoué francois chateau

  • Ron Evans March 20, 2008, 11:11 AM

    Thanks for the response Ian,

    If the LHC could generate mini black holes, I really would like to be assured that they WILL evaporate in nano seconds and not ‘get away’. I expect/hope the people building the LHC have considered this issue, because “Oops!” would not be a very satisfactory response if Hawking radiation hasn’t been confirmed yet (Has it?) or if it doesn’t work as quickly as theory suggests. (This is not my area of expertise.)


  • Leonid Breschnew March 20, 2008, 3:26 PM

    Hi Ron,

    dont get fooled by those lurid knock offs.
    Serious writers dont repeat the sensationalistic aspect of the story.
    If at all, science expects an incredibly tiny baby black hole, much smaller than an atom. What’s more, it should evaporate immediately. Black holes give off radiation. And the black hole would be so incredibly small and hot, it would radiate itself away in less than 0,00000000000000000000000001 seconds! That’s why real physicists feel pretty confident about working with the LHC. No problem if a black hole shows up. According to the laws of physics, black holes from the lab just shouldn’t be stable.

    This lurid speculations are there to trap you into website hits for the authors to make money with your fear.

  • Rusty Roe March 23, 2008, 8:05 AM

    Dr. Lisa Randall and Dr. Raman Sundrum’s D-brane studies predict a single 4-D brane in a 5-D universe in which the 5th dimension may not be as small (Planck Length) as originally thought. Possibly on the order of millimeters, etc.

    Hopefully, the LHC results will provide some of these insights, as well as in recorded spikes in radio emissions.

    At least, I hope something is revealed.

  • zahra March 30, 2008, 12:09 PM


  • pradipta April 14, 2008, 5:19 AM

    From the ancestral time the world space research established on blind theory. We although demand that we have discovered lots of mysteries viz. milk ways, galaxies, nebulas, white drafts, black holes etcs., in real they are creation of space mirror. SPACE MIRROR is the truth and hidden mystery of the space. Since we are unknown about space mirror, our research has diverted from original truth and we have spent lots of time and money behind the false truth.
    In short it can not be explained. Therefore it invites to visit http://www.spacemirrormystery.com to know the great truth.

  • David Kerzic September 19, 2008, 11:14 PM

    Woah o.o Thats… I never knew that. Keep up the great work. I hope to see my mind blown in the near future