You’ve probably heard of Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous physicists of all time.
He had a groundbreaking idea about black holes – these strange, super-powerful regions in space that nothing can escape from, not even light.
Hawking suggested that over a long, long time, black holes would eventually fade away or ‘evaporate’ due to something he called Hawking radiation.
In simple terms, Hawking said that right at the edge of a black hole (a place called the event horizon), pairs of particles and anti-particles just pop into existence from the weirdness of quantum physics.
Usually, these pairs destroy each other almost instantly.
But if one particle falls into the black hole, the other one can escape, creating what’s known as Hawking radiation. Over a really long time, this would cause the black hole to shrink and disappear.
Now, a group of scientists from Radboud University, including Michael Wondrak, Walter van Suijlekom, and Heino Falcke, have taken another look at Hawking’s theory.
They wanted to find out if this event horizon was really as important as Hawking thought.
Guess what they found? Particles can also pop into existence far beyond the event horizon! In fact, the way space and time curve around a black hole (thanks to its massive gravity) can create radiation.
This radiation, they say, is a new form of Hawking radiation.
But here’s the really wild part: They found that even objects without an event horizon, like the remains of dead stars or other massive cosmic objects, can also produce this kind of radiation. So, eventually, everything in the universe could evaporate, just like black holes.
“This changes not only our understanding of Hawking radiation but also our view of the universe and its future,” says Falcke. Now, that’s a plot twist even Hawking might not have seen coming!
Their mind-bending research was published in the leading journal “Physical Review Letters” on June 2.
The universe, it seems, is full of surprises and still has lots of mysteries left for us to unravel.