• Rikshubhra Bhattacharya

White Holes - The (Speculated) Mirror of a Black Hole

White Holes - The (Speculated) Mirror of a Black Hole In general relativity, white holes are a region of space-time from which energy-matter, time, light and energy cannot enter, but can only escape. This hypothetical singularity is the reverse of a black hole, and is even theorized to have been the driving force that spawned the Big Bang, the proposed start of our observable universe. White holes are generally considered figments of general relativity born from the same equations as their collapsed star brethren, black holes. More recently, however, some theorists have been asking whether these twin vortices of space-time may be two sides of the same coin.

An artist’s rendition of a white hole’s appearance. A white hole is theorized to have a discernible mass and even spin on its own axis. A ring of dust and gas could gather around the event horizon — the bubble boundary separating the object from the rest of the universe. Physicists describe a white hole as a black hole's "time reversal," a video of a black hole played backwards, much as a bouncing ball is the time reversal of a falling ball. While a black hole's event horizon is a sphere of no return, a white hole's event horizon is a boundary of no admission, considering no entity in the physical universe can supposedly reach its edge. While general relativity describes white holes in theory, no one knows how one might actually form. An event horizon exploding into a functional star would seem to be a violation of the statistical law demanding that the universe leans in more to entropy over time. Forming a white hole would require something akin to a gravitational explosion, and it is not clear how that sort of event has a possibility of occurring.

A theoretical diagram of a white hole’s position with respect to a black hole. One possibility is that white holes might be “glued” to black holes. In this view, a black hole and white hole are two sides of the same thing, connected via a wormhole, a concept familiar from many science-fiction stories. Unfortunately, as with forming white holes from scratch, this does not solve the problem: This is still a deeply controversial topic that is debated often, because Einstein’s theory predicts the existence of a so-called singularity at the centre of black holes – a state of infinite gravity which would prevent anything from passing through to the white hole on the other side, rendering the concept of white holes obsolete. Even if large white holes did form, many suggest they would not continue to exist for much long. It is also possible to create a stable wormhole if “exotic matter” exists with negative energy—a similar principle proposed for a “warp drive”—but no evidence for such material exists. Sizable quantities of astrophysicists continue to push forward with the idea that white holes, like black holes, exist in abundance throughout our universe. As mentioned above, many even speculate that our universe came to be through a white hole, i,e, the Big Bang was a white hole. Major proponents of this theory even include revered scientists like Stephen Hawking and Ivor Novikov. For now, however, white holes are simply a theoretical concept. If a proper conclusion is made on their existence, it could fundamentally reshape the way we view our reality. Till that day, they will remain a wondrous concept in the minds of the hundreds of dedicated scientists around the world, working on finding the answers to our big questions.

Article written by Rikshubhra Bhattacharya

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