Ancient parasitic black holes may create the universe’s heaviest atoms

‘Primordial black holes,’ believed to have formed shortly after the Big Bang, might explain how gold, platinum, and uranium are created.


Black holes are places of mystery. In simple words, black holes are places in outer space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape once it gets too close. According to new research by UCLA scientists, these parasitic black holes might help answer the question on where many of the elements heavier than iron came from.

Scientists recently mapped a pair of theories related to the formation and behavior of primordial black holes. According to their theory, black holes could have formed very shortly after the Big Bang, long before stars began to shine.

Previously, astronomers have suggested that these alleged parasitic black holes could represent all or a portion of the universe’s secretive dim issue. They may have seeded the development of supermassive black holes that exist at the focuses of worlds. This means, black holes may help in creating many of the heavier elements found in nature.

Scientists primarily considered that a uniform field of vitality infested the universe soon after the Huge explosion. Thus, scientists expect that such fields existed in the distant past. After the universe rapidly expanded, this energy field would have separated into clumps.

Gravity would cause these clumps to attract one another and merge together. Researchers proposed that some small fraction of these growing clumps became dense enough to become black holes.

Alexander Kusenko, a UCLA professor of physics, said, “The hypothesis is fairly generic. It doesn’t rely on what he called the “unlikely coincidences” that underpin other theories explaining primordial black holes.”

The discovery of these primordial black holes is possible using astronomical observations. It merely involves measuring the very tiny changes in a star’s brightness.This will result from the gravitational impacts of a primordial dark opening going amongst Earth and that star.

During the second theory, scientists proposed that parasitic black holes might play an important role in the formation of heavy elements such as gold, silver, platinum, and uranium, which could be ongoing in our galaxy and others.

According to scientists, a parasitic black hole occasionally collides with a neutron star. When that happens, the primordial black hole consumes the neutron star from the inside.

This process takes almost 10,000 years. As the neutron star shrinks, it spins even faster, eventually causing small fragments to detach and fly off. Those fragments of neutron-rich material may be the sites in which neutrons fuse into heavier and heavier elements.

Kusenko said, “the probability of a neutron star capturing a black hole is rather low, which is consistent with observations of only some galaxies being enriched in heavy elements. The theory that primordial black holes collide with neutron stars to create heavy elements also explains the observed lack of neutron stars in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, a long-standing mystery in astrophysics.”

Journal Reference

  1. George M. Fuller, Alexander Kusenko, and Volodymyr Takhistov. Primordial Black Holes and r-Process Nucleosynthesis. Physical Review Letters 119, 061101. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.061101
  2. Eric Cotner and Alexander Kusenko. Primordial Black Holes from Supersymmetry in the Early Universe. Physical Review Letters 119, 031103. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.031103


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