In a new study, scientists analyzed data from the laser interference gravitational wave observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer, and proposed the hypothesis that there might be a space-time tunnel in the universe. Gravitational wave detectors have helped astronomers discover mysterious black holes, and the next big discovery may be even more bizarre: the concept we often see in science fiction: wormholes.

wormholes are tunnels through time and space, connecting different parts of the universe (concept map). American physicists report that a black hole spinning around a wormhole may release a new gravitational wave mode

in a paper published on arXiv on July 17, American physicists reported that when a black hole spirals into a wormhole, it will produce a strange ripple in space-time, which may be captured by LIGO and Virgo interferometer. When the black hole appears again after passing through the wormhole, these wave signals may flicker.

wormhole is a kind of imaginary celestial body, in which space-time curvature can be used as a channel to connect distant cosmic sites or different universes that may exist. From the outside, wormholes seem to resemble black holes. However, when an object falls into a black hole, it is trapped inside, and the object falling into the wormhole can pass through the wormhole to the other end.

there is no evidence of wormholes. “It’s just speculation,” said William Gabriella, a physicist at Vanderbilt University in the United States But if wormholes do exist, researchers may be able to detect these strange objects through gravitational waves.

Gabriel and his colleagues imagined a black hole five times the mass of the sun, spinning around a wormhole 1.6 billion light-years from earth. According to the researchers’ calculations, when the black hole rotates around the wormhole, it begins to spiral inward, as if it were spinning around another black hole. At first, the gravitational wave generated by this spiral motion looked like the standard feature of two black holes moving toward each other, and it was also a wave mode with increasing frequency over time, called chirp.

but when the black hole reaches the center of the wormhole, the so-called “throat,” the black hole passes through it. The researchers thought about what would happen if a black hole appeared in a distant region of the universe, or in another universe. In this case, the gravitational waves in the first universe will suddenly disappear, while in the second universe, the black hole will first emit outward and then spiral back. Then, the black hole will go back to the first universe through the wormhole.

when the black hole returns, it will initially spiral outward from the wormhole, which may produce an “anti chirp” signal, that is, a gravitational wave mode opposite to chirp, and then converted into chirped signal. Black holes will continue to jump between the two universes, causing repeated bursts of gravitational waves, with occasional silence. Once the black hole loses enough energy due to gravitational waves, its journey through it will end, and finally stop at the “throat” of the wormhole.

Dejan Stojkovic, a physicist at State University of New York at Buffalo, who was not involved in the study, said: “you can’t reproduce this phenomenon in two black holes, so it’s a clear wormhole signal.”

according to general relativity, gravity is the result of the curvature of space-time, and wormholes are possible. However, if such a wormhole is detected, it means there is a strange substance that physicists can’t understand. This is because a negative mass material is needed to keep the “throat” of the wormhole open to prevent it from collapsing. At present, no known substance meets this requirement.

the laser interference gravitational wave observatory (LIGO) in the United States and the advanced Virgo detector in Italy have both detected gravitational waves from black holes or neutron stars, which rotate around each other before merging.

with these sensitive gravitational wave detectors, scientists are now very good at discovering such merging events. Since 2015, more than a dozen confirmed events have been confirmed, and more are waiting to be confirmed. But at some point, says Vito Cardoso, a physicist at the Institute of advanced technology at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, physicists need to start looking at more unusual possibilities, “we need to look for strange but exciting signals.”. (Ren Tian)