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Subject: Why do scientists think black holes can form wormholes?

Date: Thu Jan 7 15:17:28 1999
Posted by Brandon
Grade level: 10-12
School: Junction City Hight School
City: No city entered. State/Province: No state entered.
Country: No country entered.
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 915743848.As Message:
I was wondering why scientists think that a black hole can form wormholes or gateways to alternate universes. A black hole is basically a chunk of hugely compressed mass a few miles long with incredible gravitational forces.

When thinking about Einsteinien gravity and how gravity affects space-time on a 2-dimensional plane, I figured that if you viewed the Universe as a balloon (a balloon for the explanation of everything moving away from eachother at the same time), then the black hole would basically be doing the same thing as when you push your finger into a balloon.

So, if you're on the outside of the balloon's surface, it would puncture inward, and would either go only someway in (a dead end), all the way across (basically, straight across the universe), or would topple at some point and be sort of an arc (pop back out at a nearby location).

But if you're on the inside of the balloon you'd puncture out of the universe, so possibly to an alternate universe. That's what I figured scientists were thinking.

In your questions you mention poking your finger into a balloon. Well, one analogy made about wormholes is that the black hole bends space the same way your finger pushes into a balloon. Now though, take another finger and poke it into the balloon from the other side. If you push both fingers in, they will meet in the middle. If an ant crawling on the balloon went into one depression from one finger, it could come out the other side after having only traveled through the diameter of the balloon, and not half the circumference. That's a savings of about 50%! So if two black holes can connect through the fabric of spacetime the same way, they might make a similar shortcut though the Universe.

Remember, this is just an analogy and the real situation is hideously more complicated. For one thing, no one knows how you would emerge from the second black hole; no one even knows how you could survive the trip entering the first one! For the time being, wormholes are strictly in the domain of science fiction.

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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