Just like the elusive loch ness monster, a white hole is an interesting idea that has
not yet been proved to be real, but there's no good reason why it couldn't be real. You
see, white holes are highly speculative tales, told by astronomers to potentially explain
what's on the other side of a black hole. So what exactly is a white hole, and do they
really exist? Let's find out...
A white hole is the exact opposite of a black hole. A black hole sucks in matter and no
matter can escape it. Whereas a white hole spews out matter but matter cannot enter it,
kind of like a teenager’s bedroom. Most physicists say that white holes are extremely
unlikely to be real and their existence is, in fact, impossible. But new evidence suggests
Since the two are so intrinsically linked, to fully understand what a white hole is,
we first need to have a little chat about black holes. A black hole is formed when a
massive star runs out of fuel to carry on the process of nuclear fusion and so it collapses
in on itself. This is known as a supernova. Then, its gravitational pull gets stronger
and stronger, causing the collapsed star to collapse further and further in on itself
into a single point. Eventually it reaches a point of infinite density known as a gravitational
The gravitational pull of a singularity is so powerful that nothing can escape it, not
even light. And so we have a black hole. A black hole is completely non-visible, because
once light enters the singularity's event horizon it can't escape it's gravitational
pull, so the light never returns to our eyeballs.
But that's about all scientists truly know about black holes. Okay they do know a little
bit more than that, I am generalising. Sorry Steve! But my point is that we have only scratched
the surface of what a black hole really is and how it behaves. And don't even get me
started on what happens when you enter a black hole, and more importantly what's on the other
side of it, literally no one knows that, seriously.
There are countless theories out there of course. Some theorise that black holes are
portals to a parallel universe. Others say they lead to wormholes that would theoretically
allow us to traverse massive distances in space, faster than the speed of light. But
for a long time the most universally accepted theory has been that whatever enters a black
hole is trapped there for eternity, like placing something inside a locked room, then destroying
Scientists have a special name for anything and everything that is sucked up by a black
hole, from stars to radio waves, photons of light and even entire solar systems. Scientists
simply call it "information". For decades many scientists believed that when information
is claimed by a black hole it is lost forever. But there's an alternative theory, which is
backed up by brand new evidence that suggests this information could possibly be recovered.
This is where white holes come in.
You see there's a fundamental problem with suggesting that all information that enters
a black hole is lost forever. Both Albert Einstein and Issac Newton said "matter cannot
be created or destroyed" it can only change into other forms. That's fine if the black
hole functions as a locked room, trapping the information for eternity. Because nothing
has been destroyed.
However in 1975 Stephen Hawking came up with the widely accepted idea of Hawking Radiation.
Which states that black holes actually radiate energy and even more incredibly he demonstrated
how black holes actually evaporate over time. They're not permanent residents of space like
we previously thought.
So when a black hole evaporates, what happens to all the matter that it has sucked up? Hawking
Radiation appears to contradict the idea that matter can't be destroyed. There has been
a ravenous debate raging on in the physics community about this, ever since Stephen Hawking's
revelation. You know how feisty those physicists can get.
A possible answer to this dilemma is that black holes can actually turn into so-called
white holes. When this happens the newly born white hole spews out all the information it
sucked up during its previous life as a black hole. Like opening a can of miscellaneous
space crap and shaking it all over the damn place.
If this theory is true then it once and for all settles the debate over hawking radiation
and the loss of matter inside black holes. Because it means the matter isn't actually
lost when the black hole evaporates, it is instead recovered, albeit in considerably
worse shape than when it entered.
Some people have even taken the idea of white holes one step further by theorising that
black holes are actually joined to white holes via a wormhole. Which is a shortcut through
space and if we were to enter a black hole, we could travel huge distances through space
at a rate considerably faster than the speed of light. Not by actually traveling faster
than the speed of light, according to Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, that's impossible.
But by simply taking a shortcut through the universe, by modifying the shape of the spacetime
There's all kinds of extreme theories out there; often borrowed from science fiction.
Which state that these passages through spacetime would allow us to travel through time. But
that's mostly just speculation. The general idea of the white hole/wormhole theory is
that anything which enters a black holes takes a quick stroll through the back alleys of
the universe before being ejected violently out of a white hole somewhere else in space,
or possibly in another universe altogether.
Some people even say that the big bang itself was a white hole. Which came into existence
as a result of a black hole forming in another universe and expanding outwards into a brand
new universe. There's been a lot of research into this theory and it's not totally implausible.
If it were to prove true it would mean that our entire universe and everything we know,
is inside a black hole, which is part of a much, much larger, parent universe. That's
right, you could be living inside a black hole.
Whatever you may have heard or believe about white holes, there's no doubt that if they
do exist, they offer some incredibly exciting possibilities. Which leaves the obvious question
do they exist? For a long time the existence of white holes has been vehemently opposed
by many figures within the scientific community. Recently however, that all changed. Observatories
both here on Earth and in space are constantly monitoring for strange things hitting us from
far away in space, such as radio waves or gamma rays.
In 2006 a gamma ray burst was observed that didn't fit with the traditional parameters
under which gamma rays behave. It had an extraordinarily long duration of 102 seconds, which means
it had to have come form a supernova explosion. But there are no known supernovae that it
could have come from. The scientists who discovered the gamma ray burst actually said "this is
brand new territory; we have no theories to guide us." So they basically said we have
no idea what the hell that was, let's put it in a box somewhere and forget about it.
Which they pretty much did.
But, five years later it has been suggested that the gamma ray burst in 2006 of unknown
origin could have actually come from a white hole popping into existence for 102 seconds,
spewing out a whole load of matter, then disappearing. The features of the gamma ray burst perfectly
align with what we know about white holes and how they behave. This explanation to this
unusual gamma ray event has not been accepted by everyone but it's the strongest evidence
we have ever found that supports the existence of the mysterious, interstellar, loch ness
monsters that are white holes.