By: Tim Studebaker

DARTMOUTH, MASS. – There is some intense astronomy work going on at UMass Dartmouth.  In fact, a team there says they're overturning what we thought we knew about black holes by demonstrating the existence of something called "extreme black holes."

UMass Dartmouth Professor of Physics Dr. Gaurav Khanna says, “This sort of really overturns the expectation for many decades.   The work we're talking about happens to be about extreme black holes.  They happen to be black holes that spin at the fastest speed you can imagine.”

Khanna says extreme black holes were thought to be impossible because they would become unstable.  That's a topic one of his students is studying.

UMass Dartmouth PhD Student Alex Yonika says, “An object that passed through the singularity region that would be there classically, pops back out into what's called a white hole.”

Their research is challenging previous thinking.

Khanna says, “Actually these black holes are not unstable.”

They use powerful computers and complex math to simulate an extreme black hole.

Khanna says, “So we start throwing things at it and we sort of try to see what happens both to the black hole and also to these things.  What we found is that these things burn up very quickly as they approach the black hole, but the black hole itself stayed intact.”

Another of Khanna's students is contributing to that part of the effort.

UMass Dartmouth PhD Student Caroline Mallary says, “I am making code so that these space times can actually be sculpted so we can work with them in an intuitive way.  It's sort of like Photoshop for space time.”

Khanna says the next step would be to start looking for these black holes.

You can read their study here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.10155

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