Stephen Hawking is right: Black holes may emit small bits of glowing radiation that will eventually lead to their destruction, says an Israeli scientist who built his own artificial black hole and claims to have seen the glow.
Jeff Steinhauer, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, created a sonic black hole using a quantum state of supercold fluid called a Bose-Einstein condensate, reported New Scientist.
The Washington Post said Steinhauer's black hole pulls in sound the way black holes in space pulls in light.
Black holes, according New Scientist, are leftovers from ultra-dense dead stars with gravity so strong that not even light can escape it. Hawking theorized in 1974, in what is known today at Hawking radiation, that black holes might also emit the radiation glow that would whittle away at the mass.
Steinhauer's research was published Monday in the science journal Nature Physics.
New Scientist said Steinhauer measured pairs of sound particles known as phonons that pop into existence near the horizon – just as Hawking suggested happens near a real black hole.
Repeating his experiment 4,600 times over six days, Steinhauer took pictures measuring the refractive index in the fluid – a method used to image waves – to track the sound particle and its partner particle as they moved toward the event horizon.
In a statement from Technion-Israel, Steinhauer said pairs of phonons appeared "spontaneously in the void at the event horizon …" He said one of the phonons travels away from the black hole as Hawking radiation, while the other phonon fell into the black hole.
"Using a technique we developed, we saw that high energy pairs were entangled, while low energy pairs were not," Steinhauer said. "This entanglement verifies an important element in the discussion of the information paradox (the idea that information that falls into a black hole is destroyed or lost) as well as the firewall controversy (the theory that a wall of fire – resulting from the breaking of the entanglement between the Hawking particles and their partners – exists at the event horizon of a black hole)."
Technion-Israel said Steinhauer had been working to prove Hawking's theory since 2009, creating his hand-assembled laboratory with lasers, mirrors, lenses and magnetic coils to build his makeshift black hole.
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