- Primordial black holes about the size of a hydrogen molecule may be dark matter
- ‘PHBs’ could help prove dark matter exists as their gravity ‘wobbles’ Earth’s orbit
- But a primordial black hole could swallow the whole Earth if it gets too close
- READ MORE: NASA animation shows ‘monster’ black holes lurking in each galaxy
Scientists have discovered that some ancient black holes are altering Earth’s orbit.
A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has suggested swirling masses of matter, called primordial black holes (PBHs), are soaring past our solar system at least once a decade, disrupting planets and moons.
The PBHs, which formed shortly after the Big Bang 12.8 billion years ago, are the size of a microbe, but have a density an asteroid that could cause orbits to ‘wobble.’
The team’s claim suggests that the distances of planets from the sun or the Earth could change over time.
When primordial black holes fly by a planet, physicists calculate, ‘it starts that planet wobbling or rocking slightly around the path it was taking.’ Above, simulations show how black holes bend a starry background and capture light, making a black hole silhouette or ‘photon ring’
PBHs were proposed in 1947 by astrophysics Stephen Hawking and his PhD student Bernard Carr, who argued that during the first moments of the Big Bang, ‘lumpy’ regions that had extra mass may have formed in the universe and turned into black holes when they collapsed.
But the ancient black holes have yet to be detected in the universe.
The new study is based on the theory that the universe is teeming with PBHs, meaning the objects would have to pass by our cosmic neighborhood.
The universe is teeming with ancient ‘primordial black holes,’ formed from swirling masses of matter shortly after the Big Bang, rather than from a dying star, theoretical physicists say
Researchers calculated how close a PBH would have to come within a planet or moon in our solar system in order to alter movement.
The study used a simulation featuring all eight planets, about 300 planetary satellites (like moons), more than 1.3 million asteroids and almost 4,000 comets.
And the model also included rogue PBHs.
The team observed that if one with the mass of an asteroid came within just two astronomical units from the sun, the orbits of planets and moons would wobble up to several feet.
However, researchers noted that the wobble would not destroy our planet.
They are now developing methods to measure those gravitational wobbles, in an effort to gather the first concrete evidence proving long-theorized ‘dark matter.’
Physics experts have long calculated that about 85 percent of all the matter in the universe is dark matter, but none of this great amount has ever been detected.
In essence, their plan is to measure any gravitational ‘wobbles’ changing Earth’s distance from the moon, alongside many other well known orbits within our solar system to identify any tiny, but dense specs of dark matter sailing passed us.