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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Could Dark Matter Be Composed of Tiny Black Holes

Space.com reports:
... The new hypothesis, formulated by astrophysicists Vyacheslav Dokuchaev and Yury Eroshenko at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, suggests that dark matter could be made of microscopic — or quantum — "black hole atoms."

Physicists have also long believed that microscopic black holes must have existed in the early universe, because quantum fluctuations in the density of matter just after the Big Bang would have created regions of space dense enough to allow the formation of such tiny black holes.

Some researchers believe that the universe could still be full of such "primordial black holes."

... The new study by Dokuchaev and Eorshenko suggests a specific type of quantum black hole might exist: so-called black hole atoms. These microscopic black holes would originally have had an electric charge, the researchers say. This charge would have attracted protons or electrons, leaving the tiny black hole electrically neutral, just like an atom.

... The black holes would have about the same mass as an asteroid, from 10^14 kilograms to 10^23 kilograms, but be even smaller than atoms. Their interaction with ordinary matter would also be extremely weak — even weaker than that of neutrinos, the researchers said.

The quantum black holes would therefore be dark, massive, non-interacting particles – with properties that “"one needs for the dark matter candidates,”" write Dokuchaev and Eroshenko write in a paper published in March in the journal Advances in High Energy Physics.

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