Worm holes and black holes. How are they understood and what are the differences between them? Well, these are the questions that I will be glad to answer here today.
So what is the difference between a wormhole and a black hole? A wormhole is a theoretical phenomenon that connects two points in space/time with two different ends and a passage in between them. In contrast, a black hole is an object which has been observed and is one singular point of extreme density, where nothing can escape from it after it has passed through its event horizon (even light).
Let’s now turn to what a worm hole and a black hole actually are, to complete our understanding.
Then we will delve into their fundamental differences in much further detail. So keep reading!
What Is A Wormhole?
A wormhole is a theoretical and speculative structure that connects two separate points in spacetime.
The concept of a wormhole was first postulated in 1916, based on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
The idea was that an object entering a black hole would emerge from a white hole located somewhere else in space/time.
A black hole is an object whose gravity is so immense that almost nothing can escape from it.
A white hole is an object that spews out matter and energy but nothing can approach to close to it.
Einstein and a physicist named Nathan Rosen began to study the idea of “bridges” that linked two points in space/time in the 1930s.
The idea was that an object could use of wormhole to transport from one point in space to another without having to pass through the intervening space.
A worm hole, in theory, could also be used as a time travel device or even as a way to access alternate universes. Worm holes are also referred to as Einstein-Rosen Bridges.
In theory, the entrance to a wormhole could be a black hole, but a black hole that is created by a collapsing star does not, by itself, create a wormhole.
To date, no wormholes have been located in nature. Their existence and how they might be created in nature remain theoretical.
Science fiction is filled with stories of explorers using wormholes for interstellar travel.
The idea is compelling since, in theory, one could use wormholes, either naturally occurring or artificially created, to evade the speed of light limit. However, certain problems exist concerning using wormholes for interstellar highways.
Size can be a problem with wormholes.
Wormholes that were created with the universe are predicted to be microscopic in size, useless for use in interstellar travel. However, as the universe expanded, these early wormholes might have expanded as well.
Stability can also be a problem.
Wormholes that may occur in nature tend to collapse fairly quickly, making them useless for travel. They can be kept open by a substance called exotic matter, which is matter that has negative density.
Exotic matter is not to be confused with dark matter, which is matter that scientists know exists but has never been observed directly.
Can wormholes be used to send either information or even people across interstellar distances? Some physicists, such as Kip Thorne, suspect that wormholes as interstellar highways would violate the laws of physics. However, the debate continues.
In any case, wormholes have been featured as a method of star travel in innumerable stories, TV shows, and films.
The Stargate franchise, Babylon 5, The Expanse, and Star Trek: Deep Space 9 all use wormholes as a plot device to enable its characters to travel from one part of the universe to another.
Wormholes are depicted as being the creation of advanced aliens as a way to get around the uncertainties of how such things could be made by humans using science that is currently understood.
What Is A Black Hole?
Black holes are stars that have collapsed upon themselves at the end of their lives. They have become so heavy that they distort surrounding space/time. Nothing can emerge from a black hole once it penetrates the event horizon that surrounds it.
Black holes become more and more massive as they suck in matter, including planets, stars, and even other black holes. Because black holes absorb all light they cannot be observed directly.
Some of the parts of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity first suggested that existence of black holes. However, astronomers did not ascertain the existence of black holes until the early 1970s when they observed superheated radiation surrounding an object that orbits a blue star 6,000 light years from Earth.
Scientists detect black holes by observing their effect on matter and energy nearby them.
Black holes that are created by the collapse of a star are estimated to be 10 to 24 times as massive as our sun. Scientists believe that ten million to a billion black holes reside in the Milky Way Galaxy alone.
Scientists refer to the center of a black hole as a singularity, where matter is compressed to an infinitely tiny point and where the laws of space and time break down.
Black holes are capable of spinning.
NASA has detected this phenomenon by measuring x-rays to determine how close the accretion disk, which consists of gas, particles, dust and plasma, is to the black hole.
The faster the black hole spins, the closer the accretion disk is to it. The accretion disk consists of matter and energy that is falling into the black hole. NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has observed the phenomenon.
While black holes have developed a well-earned reputation as monsters that absorb all around them, the Hubble Space Telescope recently detected a black hole in the dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10 that is creating stars rather than absorbing them.
The Hubble imaged a stream of super-heated gas moving from the vicinity of the black hole to a gas cloud serving as a stellar nursery at a speed of a million miles an hour.
The gas stream, falling toward the black hole, is then captured by surrounding magnetic fields and is propelled outward. The gas stream is igniting star formation as it moves forth into the gas cloud.
In the mid-1980s, astronomers discovered a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, more massive than millions of stars.
Scientists have determined that every galaxy in the universe has a black hole at its center. They theorize that supermassive black holes form from supermassive stars and absorb a tremendous amount of matter and energy once they are created.
In 2019, NASA’s Event Horizon Telescope observed the first of these black holes directly at the center of a galaxy designated M87. The image revealed a ring of superheated gas surrounding what appears to be an empty space that contains the black hole.
The telescope also discovered a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, designated as Sagittarius A. Scientists have ascertained quite a bit about the universe by comparing the two objects.
Black holes are thought emit a form of radiation, named Hawking Radiation after its discoverer, Dr. Stephen Hawking.
While not yet confirmed by direct observation, the notion that black holes emit radioactive particles is supported by the General Theory of Relativity and quantum mechanics.
If Hawking Radiation is confirmed, then black holes would be capable of emitting energy and therefore, albeit over trillions of years, likely to decay into white holes.
Black holes have been a feature of science fiction novels and short stories almost without number, with the better ones using their strange physics to advance the plot.
The objects have even been featured in feature motion pictures, to various degrees of scientific accuracy. These movies include Disney’s The Black Hole, the 2009 Star Trek feature film, and Interstellar.
What Are The Differences Between A Wormhole And A Black Hole?
An object entering a black hole will never leave it. An object entering a wormhole would, at least in theory, emerge somewhere else in space/time.
A black hole’s gravity is immense to the point that once an object passes its event horizon, nothing can escape it. A wormhole exerts less gravity, thus allowing an object that enters it to leave it as well.
Black holes are relatively stable, once formed, lasting billions of years. A wormhole, if found in nature, would be unstable, prone to collapsing at any moment unless buttressed with exotic matter.
Hawking radiation emerges from a black hole as a steady stream. Similar radiation around the entrance to a wormhole would appear as a sphere.
What Are The Similarities Between A Wormhole And A Black Hole?
Some scientists believe that the entrances to wormholes appear similar to those of black holes in that they are incredibly dense objects that other objects enter.
Can A Black Hole Be A Wormhole?
Many scientists believe that black holes cannot be wormholes. An object entering the event horizon of a black hole would not escape and would be absorbed into its singularity. However, should a black hole be somehow paired with a white hole, it might form a wormhole.
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Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.