An astonishing report regarding black holes published in the latest edition of the Astrophysical Journal suggests that the bursts – which shine more brightly than a million trillion times the output of our own sun – contain what are referred to as time-reversed light signatures. This essentially conveys that these light signatures actually travel backwards in time! Although evidently a ground-breaking discovery, researchers admit to not having a complete understanding of the bizarre phenomena.
The study’s lead author, Jon Hakkila, an astrophysicist and associate dean of the Graduate School at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, said: “Gamma-ray bursts from black holes were the most luminous sources know in nature, producing more energy than untying else which emits light.” He explained that gamma-ray bursts are ejected when two neutron stars collide, forming a black hole in the process. Interestingly, supernovas produce longer gamma-ray bursts as the dying stars collapse into black holes.
Mr Hakkila claimed that in most cases, the energy erupts in the form of pulses or blips. When he excluded the main pulse from the data he was inspecting, originally detected by NASA’s Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in the 1990s, he discovered that “the blip actually had some little side blips.” Each pulse was observed to have three phases during which light levels rose and fell numerous times.
Further study and examination of black holes revealed that the nature of the peaks observed in the light levels looked similar to the reflections in a mirror. Mr Hakkila said: “They all have this signature of brightness that fluctuates and then it turns around and goes backwards in time.
“A gamma-ray burst represents the formation of a black hole, and there’s all sorts of very odd things that happen with both space and time and the relationship between space and time in the vicinity of a black hole.”
Black holes are considered to be one of the most mysterious and intriguing phenomena in the known universe. The expression was first used in print by science journalist Ann Ewing in an article published in 1964. NASA describes a black hole as a gigantic amount of matter packed into a tiny area, creating a gravitational field so immensely strong that nothing, not even light, or perhaps even time, can escape. It is speculated that dozens may exist in our galaxy, The Milky Way.
Professor Stephen Hawking suggested the fascinating possibility that blackholes might be passages to another universe bringing into light the potential existence of other dimensions. In his lecture Into a Black Hole, he explained: “I remember going to the premier of a Walt Disney film, The Black Hole, in the 1970s.
“It was about a spaceship, that was sent to investigate a black hole that had been discovered.
“It wasn’t a very good film, but it had an interesting ending. After orbiting the black holes, one of the scientists decides, the only way to find out what is going on, is to go inside. So he gets into a space probe, and dives into the black hole.
“After a screen writer’s depiction of Hell, he emerges into a new universe.”
Black holes are so massive that they severely warp the fabric of spacetime (the three spatial dimensions and time combined in a four-dimensional continuum). The light will appear to continually slow down as it approaches the black hole, ultimately reaching a complete dead stop at the event horizon. It is quite evident that black holes hold the mystery of time and its supposed manipulation, the workings of which lie beyond our knowledge. However, we can be assured that future revelations are going to be revolutionary, perhaps changing everything we understand about the known universe itself!