ScienceSpace

What are White Holes?

Before I dive into what a white hole is let me explain the other, better-known hole, the Black Hole. Black holes are places in the Universe where matter and energy are compacted so densely together that their escape velocity is greater than the speed of light. Which basically means nothing is getting out. To fully describe a black hole it involves a lot of fancy math, but long story short these are real things in our Universe that suck in space matter and as far as we know it doesn’t go anywhere.

What is a White Hole?

Now a White Hole is almost the exact opposite of a Black Hole. In theory, the Black Hole takes everything in and the White Hole spits it all out. This sort of connects to the idea that Black Holes are wormholes that would make space travel in the future quicker. Anyway, White Holes don’t actually exist (as far as we know)  but are mathematically possible. Meaning the only time a White Hole has been “created” is when astrophysicists mathematically explore the environment around Black Holes but pretend there is no mass within the event horizon. An event horizon is a theoretical boundary around a black hole beyond which no light or radiation can escape.

It’s Just Fancy Math

White holes are completely theoretical mathematical concepts. In fact, if you do black hole math for a living ignoring the mass of singularity makes your life so much easier. Unfortunately, white holes don’t actually exist. So it’s not like astronomers detected an unusual outburst of radiation and then developed hypothetical white hole models to explain, white holes are just math.

One of the other implications of white hole math is that they only theoretically exist as long as there isn’t a single speck of matter within the event horizon. As soon as a single atom drifted into the region, the whole thing would collapse. Even if white holes were created back at the beginning of the Universe, they would have collapsed long ago, since our Universe is already filled with stray matter.


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They Could Be Real?

However, there are a few physicists out there who think white holes might be more than theoretical. Hal Haggard and Carlo Rovelli or Aix- Marseille university in France are working to explain what happens withing black holes using a branch of theoretical physics called “Loop Quantum Gravity.”

In theory, a black hole singularity would compress down until the smallest possible size predicted by physics. Then it would rebound as a white hole, but because of the severe time dilation effect around a black hole, this event would take billions of years. If there were microscopic black holes created after the Big Bang, they might get around to decaying and explode as white holes any day now. Except, according to Stephan Hawking, they would have already evaporated.

The Big Bang

Another interesting idea put forth by physicists is that a white hole might explain the Big Bang since this
is another situation where a tremendous amount of matter and energy spontaneously appeared. This is incredibly interesting because that would mean that the Universe that we know of actually came from a whole other Universe that was being eaten by a black hole. Space is fun, isn’t it!

In all likelihood, white holes are just fancy math and since fancy math rarely survives contact with reality, white holes are probably just imaginary. Or maybe they aren’t.