UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The strange trajectories of celestial bodies on the outskirts of the solar system, which are indicated by some observational data, hint at the existence of an unknown object with a mass of about five terrestrial ones. Scientists usually assumed that they were dealing with a planet.
However, Jakub Scholz from Durham University and James Unwin from the University of Illinois at Chicago have put forward a new theory intriguing. In their opinion, this may be a small black hole formed in the first second after the Big Bang.
The authors claim that this hypothesis explains the observed orbits of trans-Neptune objects no worse than the version with a planet. In addition, the OGLE project data indicate that small massive objects can exist in the vicinity of the Sun, manifesting themselves as gravitational lenses.
What are primary black holes?
Astrophysicists know only one process, which, at least theoretically, can lead to the formation of black holes with a mass significantly less than that of stars. This is the birth of primary black holes (PSH). To date, the existence of these objects has not been proven.
However, cosmologists are confident in their existence, since it follows from well-verified theories of theories.
Recall what we are talking about. In the early Universe, there were regions of increased density of matter. Thanks to gravity, matter gathered around them like a snowball. So gradually the galaxies were born. And where the density was too high, primary black holes arose.
It is believed that all PSD formed within the first second after the Big Bang. Their masses were very diverse, from a speck of dust to hundreds of thousands of suns. In this case, the lightest black holes formed most of all, a little heavier ones appeared in a smaller amount, and so on. This situation resembles the living world: there are more microbes than cockroaches, and there are more cockroaches than elephants.
The smaller the black hole, the more intense it emits Hawking radiation. It spends its mass on this process, because of which it begins to radiate even stronger, and so on. It ends with a flash that looks like an explosion.
Such bursts of exploding PSDs should be made known by gamma radiation and emissions of antimatter. However, while astronomers have not observed such phenomena. This suggests that quite a few primary black holes have formed in the Universe (although their exact number remains in question).
Thus, a hypothetical black hole weighing five earthly can be a greeting from the first second of the life of the Universe. Her study could provide the first direct information about that distant era. No objects already discovered by astronomers have formed so early. The first atomic nuclei, which determined the chemical composition of the Universe, were born in the first minutes after the Big Bang.
Relic radiation set off to wander through space through hundreds of thousands of years.
Astronomers are unbelievably lucky if the PSD really shows up so close to the Sun. After all, object X, according to experts, is located from our luminary at a distance of 300 to 1000 astronomical units (1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun). For comparison: to the nearest star, hundreds of thousands of astronomical units.
So a planet or not?
However, how to make sure that it is a black hole, not a planet? A black hole of this mass cannot be called enormous: its diameter will be only a few centimeters. To detect it by Hawking radiation is also problematic: it is too weak, several orders of magnitude weaker than the relict one.
The authors hope that the signal will be x-ray and gamma radiation emitted by dark matter when incident on a black hole. However, there are a lot of assumptions in this approach. The properties of dark matter are by and large unknown. Its density in the vicinity of the Earth is also not very accurately measured.
No matter how seductive the new hypothesis, scientists prefer to explain the observed phenomena as the most probable, and therefore the most prosaic, reasons.
At the moment, not all experts are ready to agree even that there is something in the orbits of trans-Neptune objects that needs to be explained. And if such an explanation is really needed, then in its capacity as experts, the super-earth will be more suitable, since there are already a lot of planets of this class (as far as we know now, they are generally the most numerous in the Galaxy).
Thus, only very compelling facts, excluding other explanations, can make the scientific community accept as a priority hypothesis that the mysterious object X is a black hole.
Be that as it may, the hypothesis of the mysterious “X” attracts the attention of observers to the little-known outskirts of the solar system and helps them make new discoveries .
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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