June 14, 2024
An artist’s concept of a black hole. (Image credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library via Getty Images)

Scientists may have finally solved the problem of the universe’s ‘missing’ black holes

Primordial black holes are one of the strongest candidates for the universe’s missing dark matter. But a new theory suggests that not enough of the miniature black holes formed for this to be the case

The early universe contained far fewer miniature black holes than previously thought, making the origins of our cosmos’s missing matter an even greater mystery, a new study has suggested.

Miniature, or primordial, black holes (PBHs) are black holes thought to have formed in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang. According to leading theories, these dime-sized singularities popped into existence from rapidly collapsing regions of thick, hot gas.

The pockets of infinitely dense space-time are how many physicists explain the universe’s dark matter, a mysterious entity that, despite being completely invisible, makes the universe much heavier than can be explained by the matter we see.

But even though the hypothesis is popular, it has one big problem: we’ve yet to directly observe any primordial black holes. Now, a new study has offered a possible explanation as to why they didn’t form, throwing open cosmology’s dark matter problem to wider speculation.

According to the research, the modern universe could have taken shape with far fewer primordial black holes than previous models estimated. The researchers published their findings May 29 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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