Scientists from Harvard and the Black Hole Initiative are proposing that we search for primordial black holes by looking for possible accretion flashes. If we find them, then we might have a black hole in our solar system.
We currently have eight planets in our Solar system. Some will argue that Pluto is the ninth but scientists say no. And some are really not okay with having just eight planets so they decided to search for other planets that could wander the very edges of the Solar system. Right now, it is very popular to search for “Planet Nine” that would explain the somewhat strange movements that can be found further than the orbit of Neptune is. But there is another option. Maybe Planet Nine is no planet. Some say that it could be a primordial planet-mass black hole.
Planet Nine or Black Hole Nine?
Scientists from Harvard University and the Black Hole Initiative came up with a new method that will allow us to detect black holes in the outer parts of the Solar system. And it could, once and for all, find out the true nature of Planet Nine (if it even exists). A popular astrophysicist Avi Loab and a student Amir Siraj decided to use the planned program Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) to search for any possible flashes caused by the accretion of matter right near a black hole. This could tell us whether Planet Nine is a planet or something much more insane.
The Legacy Survey of Space and Time that will last for ten whole years should run on the upcoming telescope Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile on the El Peñón mountain that should start doing its job fully in 2023. It will be the largest telescope capable of observing the full night sky all in the world. And if Planet Nine is actually Black Hole Nine then this telescope should be capable of finding any flashes of light caused by the tiny black hole gobbling up matter.
Whenever a small object gets close enough to a black hole it quickly turns into liquid. This is because the surroundings of the black hole will be hot thanks to its constant absorption of gas from the space around it. The liquefied matter eventually creates a small accretion disk and ends up eaten by the black hole singularity. And when this is happening, the matter should glow. While black holes are … well… dark, this is the only way to shine a bit of light onto them.
The researchers are convinced that their method can detect black holes with a mass of planet up towards the Oort Cloud. Or at least, say there are none with a very high probability.
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