Shocking Black Hole Discovery Reveals A Dark Energy Secret That Solves A 20-Year Mystery
A group of scientists have proposed evidence that black holes are what produce dark energy. The new work potentially means nothing needs to be added to what we already know about the Universe to account for dark energy, in that black holes along with Einstein's gravity are the source.
The team of 17 researchers from 9 countries, along with STFC RAL Space and Imperial College London physicists, worked on the paper that is published in The Astrophysical Journal and The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The group believes the theory will "revolutionize the whole of cosmology" if it holds true. It will also solve a long-standing dilemma of the origin of dark energy that has puzzled cosmologists and theoretical physicists for more than two decades, according to co-author Dr. Chris Pearson, from STFC RAL Space.
Co-author Dr. Dave Clements, from the Department of Physics at Imperial, remarked, "This is a really surprising result. We started off looking at how black holes grow over time, and may have found the answer to one of the biggest problems in cosmology."
Albert Einstein proposed that a "cosmological constant" opposed gravity and kept the Universe from essentially collapsing. The theory was at one time abandoned, but later revived in the 1990s following the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating instead of slowing as previously thought.
In order to try and explain what was happening, some proposed that a "dark energy" stronger than gravity was causing things to move away from one another at an accelerated pace. The main component of Einstein's theory was vacuum energy, a type of energy included in spacetime itself. However, black holes with their immense gravity seemed to pose a problem with this thought process.
The new study, which covers nine billion years of black hole evolution, aims to solve this issue by proposing black holes grow in a manner consistent with them containing vacuum energy. This in turn provides a source of dark energy.
"We're really saying two things at once: that there's evidence the typical black hole solutions don't work for you on a long, long timescale, and we have the first proposed astrophysical source for dark energy." He added, "What that means, though, is not that other people haven't proposed sources for dark energy, but this is the first observational paper where we're not adding anything new to the Universe as a source for dark energy: black holes in Einstein's theory of gravity are the dark energy."