Researchers see black holes as the origin of all life
/>by Philipp Rall 7. July 2019, 14:57
Harvard University scientists see black holes as the potential center of life. Does this possibly change the history of creation??
Supermassive black holes
From the first theory revolving around the possible existence of black holes to their first sighting to the present day, we have learned quite a bit about the mysterious shapes of the universe. However, a huge part of their properties still hides in the realm of the unknown. Scientists at Harvard University now have a new theory black hole could be the source of all life.
Black hole: More alive than you think
For a long time black holes were regarded as all-devouring monsters, to which nothing- not even light can escape. With the theories of Stephen Hawking this understanding was loosened up a little bit. By now, we have even reached the point where we are able to calculate around thermal radiation and mass loss- a the so-called Hawking radiation Know.
The radiation of supermassive black holes, specifically active galactic nuclei, is even so powerful that it could clarify one of the essential questions of human history: Where did the origin of life come from? Until now, researchers have been looking in the so-called "Goldilocks Zone" after extraterrestrial life. This is the habitable zone, which surrounds nearly every star. Possibly, however, the answer is much simpler.
Until now, black holes have been seen only as engines of destruction on a cosmic scale. The Harvard team’s research, however, now suggests that the radiation emitted primarily by galactic nuclei as part of their frenzies is responsible for some essential foundations of life: namely, for "the prebiotic synthesis of biomolecular building blocks mediated by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, as well as photosynthesis on certain free-floating planets and moons.“
The active galactic nucleus and its dangers
An active galactic nucleus English: active galactic nucleus (AGN)- respectively the core region of a galaxy is comparatively small from an astronomical point of view and has just the size of a solar system. Radiation emanating from an active galactic nucleus is attributed to the accretion, or collection, of matter by a supermassive black hole at its center.
Since the 1980s, researchers have assumed that the radiation from the supermassive black hole creates a dead zone surrounding the AGN. Sagittarius A* is the name of the enormous black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
Previous studies have already shown that there are AGNs of similar size that emit X-rays and ultraviolet light, eating away at the atmospheres of Earth-like planets located within 3.200 light years away. For comparison: The earth is just under 100.000 light years away from Sagittarius A*. ÜBy the way: One light year corresponds to about 9.5 trillion kilometers.
The habitable zone of the black hole
„Most have talked about the harmful effects [of black holes]", Manasvi Lingam, lead author of the study and an astronomer at Harvard University, told Live Science. „We wanted to investigate again how harmful [radiation] is… and ask us if there are any positive results.“ Published the team’s study in the Astrophysical Journal.
The models of Lingam’s scientists suggest that planets with thicker atmospheres than Earth’s could withstand radiation and evolve in defiance of it. ÄSimilar to the stellar habitable zone, there are galactic Goldilocks zones that provide just the right amount of ultraviolet radiation to not destroy the atmosphere, but "break molecules and form compounds needed to build proteins, lipids, and DNA".“
X-rays and gamma rays, meanwhile, could be absorbed by the atmosphere and would have a correspondingly small impact on potential life. According to the Harvard team’s calculations, the deleterious effects of radiation from a supermassive black hole the size of Sagittarius A* would have to decay from a distance of about 100 light years.
What does this mean for us?
„If we look at what we know about Earth, it suggests that the positive effects may extend to a larger region than the negative effects.", Lingam told Live Science. „This was definitely surprising.“ Broken down, this means that the area in which we could find extraterrestrial life has just massively expanded.
So it is quite possible that we will find something in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Remember: We are sitting on one of the outer arms. So, in the direction of AGN and its supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, there could well be one or two life forms hiding, possibly even intelligent ones.