Scientists Make Black Hole in Fiber Optic Cable: World Doesn't End

Illustration for article titled Scientists Make Black Hole in Fiber Optic Cable: World Doesnt End

OK, so its not quite as sensational as it sounds— UK scientists have been trying to simulate conditions near the event horizons that shroud black holes, and they've cleverly simulated a horizon using pulses of light in a special optical fiber. So, no disastrous gravity well was made and the world didn't suddenly end with a horrible crunch. But they did create an analog of a black hole that helped them understand some of the weird and whacky physics that goes on near real ones.

The team actually made "completely harmless" black hole and white hole horizons in pairs, at a rate of 80 million a second, by piling up and stretching out ultrashort light pulses in the modified optical fiber. They even detected blue-shifting effects at the white hole horizons, which is predicted by theory.

Next on their agenda may be examining even more interesting quantum stuff like the radiation predicted by Stephen Hawking in his "black holes ain't so black" theory. And that's just cool. [Sciencemag via Wired]

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A black hole of one solar mass would definitely end the world. First, the Earth would be pulled in the direction of the black hole very rapidly. The differential in gravity between one end of the Earth and the other would effectively cause the entire planet to crumble. As the molten core of the planet approaches the black hole the iron within would be fused repeatedly creating transuranic elements and releasing high levels of gamma radiation that would kill anyone that wasn't pulped by the shattering of the planet. The resulting blast of energy might project some of the Earth's substance far enough away to escape falling into the event horizon while some of the Earth's matter might take up an orbit around the black hole as plasma. This would all take place within a few minutes.