June 14, 2024
The physicists postulate that the color-charged black holes could have affected the balance of fusing nuclei, in a way that astronomers might someday detect with future measurements. Such an observation would point convincingly to primordial black holes as the root of all dark matter today.

Exotic black holes could be a byproduct of dark matter

For every kilogram of matter that we can see—from the computer on your desk to distant stars and galaxies—there are 5 kilograms of invisible matter that suffuse our surroundings. This “dark matter” is a mysterious entity that evades all forms of direct observation yet makes its presence felt through its invisible pull on visible objects.

Fifty years ago, physicist Stephen Hawking offered one idea for what dark matter might be: a population of black holes, which might have formed very soon after the Big Bang.

Such “primordial” black holes would not have been the goliaths that we detect today, but rather microscopic regions of ultradense matter that would have formed in the first quintillionth of a second following the Big Bang and then collapsed and scattered across the cosmos, tugging on surrounding space-time in ways that could explain the dark matter that we know today.

Now, MIT physicists have found that this primordial process also would have produced some unexpected companions: even smaller black holes with unprecedented amounts of a nuclear-physics property known as “color charge.”

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