Black Holes May Be Even Crazier Than We Thought—They Could Shoot Dark Matter Laser Beams

Monday, 18 June 2018 - 11:41AM
Monday, 18 June 2018 - 11:41AM
Black Holes May Be Even Crazier Than We Thought—They Could Shoot Dark Matter Laser Beams
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Image credit: YouTube

If you're wondering how much we know about black holes, the answer is... less than you think.


With new discoveries being made every day though, the theories are plentiful—and pretty mind-blowing—and some are more bizarre than others.


In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, a group of scientists says they believe that black holes have the potential to turn dark matter particles into "extremely bright" laser beams and radiation into space. 

We're not talking a laser beam like from the Death Star, or Starkiller base, or even the First Order's battering ram cannon, but the black hole laser may be just as real as those from the Star Wars universe.


The new theory is an extension of a previous theory that connected axions, dark matter, and gravitational waves.


That theory was that rotating black holes (a process called superradiance) can accumulate the same number of axions as there are atoms in the universe. 


Vanderbilt University researcher Thomas Kephart and his co-author in the new study João G. Rosa decided to build on that idea and calculate what would happen to that extremely large number of accumulated axions.

"According to their calculations," Gizmodo explains, "if the axion could decay into a pair of photons, this would excite other axions and cause them to release photons, and so on and so on. This chain reaction would stop and restart again as other processes balance it out, but could result in bursts of radio waves." Those radio waves are called BLASTs, or "black hole lasers powered by axion superradiant instabilities."

The team of researchers offers ideas on how these radio waves could be detected, but this is all still theoretical. There is still no proof that axions even exist.


"I think it's a fascinating possibility," said Kephart about the axion laser. We will leave it to the actual scientists to debate theories about one of the universe's greatest mysteries, but so far this one seems too far off center to be believed.