Black holes are the most confusing things out there in the universe and no-one really knows what they are – at least, that’s our very basic grasp of it.
Now, though, a new study has posited a theory that black holes are structures created by unseen cosmic dimensions - or topological stars.
And just to make it a little more confusing, these topological stars exist purely in the hypothetical realms of mathematics.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been exploring string theory, which posits that particles in the universe are actually tied to extra (hidden) dimensions through vibrating strings.
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According to their findings, hypothetical topological stars could exist for real in the universe and they’re essentially formations of nothing which could appear in space.
The study finds that topological stars would appear “remarkably similar to black holes in apparent size and scattering properties, while being smooth and horizonless”.
The study, which was published in Physical Review D, found that these stars which until now have only existed in hypothetical form, look an awful lot like the black holes out in the universe.
“String theory is a theory that reconciles quantum physics and gravity into a quantum gravity theory,” study leader Pierre Heidmann said.
Speaking to Motherboard, he said: “Usually when you have a new theory like that, you have new degrees of freedom that come with it, and you can try to see what new fundamental objects can arise from that.”
Co-author of the study Ibrahima Bah added: “It’s an interesting question to ask: Are there things other than a black hole [that] will give you a hint about what new physics could look like?”
“But before you get there, you need to know how to tell whether you have a black hole or not, and to do that you have some prototype examples of things that are not black holes to be able to compare."
As ever, black holes remain the most mysterious, and the most fascinating things out there.
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