Sonic black holes produce “Hawking radiation,” may confirm famous theory

Sonic black holes produce “Hawking radiation,” may confirm famous theory

Enlarge / Simulated view of a black hole in front of the Large Magellanic Cloud. (credit: Wikimedia Commons/Alain r)

Israeli physicists think they have confirmed one of the late Stephen Hawking’s most famous predictions by creating the sonic equivalent of a black hole out of an exotic superfluid of ultra-cold atoms. Jeff Steinhauer and colleagues at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) described these intriguing experimental results in a new paper in Nature.

The standard description of a black hole is an object with such a strong gravitational force that light can’t even escape once it moves behind a point of no return known as the event horizon. But in the 1970s, Hawking demonstrated that—theoretically, at least—black holes should emit tiny amounts of radiation and gradually evaporate over time.

Blame the intricacies of quantum mechanics for this Hawking radiation. From a quantum perspective, the vacuum of space

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