The late Professor Hawking claimed black holes are slowly evaporating in a ground-breaking theory 45 years ago in 1974. His theory said particles could rob black holes of their energy making them disappear at a minuscule rate as they release everything they had once swallowed in a trickle of dust.
It was dubbed ‘Hawking radiation’ but it had been virtually impossible to prove as the small black hole evaporation is too difficult to detect from thousands of light-years away.
However, researchers from the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology created an artificial black hole in a lab to test the theory.
Whereas a standard black hole consumes light, the laboratory black hole does not allow sound to escape, known as an analogue or sonic black hole.
The analogue black hole works the same as a regular black hole, with an event horizon surrounding it from which nothing can escape unless it is moving faster than the pull of the analogue black hole.
The analogue black hole was just one-tenth of a millimetre and composed of 8000 rubidium atoms.
Rubidium flows faster than the speed of sound, so it is a good way to observe the theory.
What they found, over the course of several months, was the analogue black hole getting smaller as more atoms slip away.
The laboratory results prove that Stephen Hawking’s theory was correct, as what was captured by the lab-black hole did eventually trickle away – although the test was carried out on a much smaller scale than what is found in the cosmos.
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“A black hole is supposed to radiate like a black body, which is essentially a warm object that emits a constant infrared radiation (i.e., black body radiation).
“Hawking suggested that black holes are just like regular stars, which radiate a certain type of radiation all the time, constantly.
“That’s what we wanted to confirm in our study, and we did.”
However, the research is still not conclusive proof that Hawking Radiation does happen in real black holes, as the proportions are exceptionally different.