Every now and then, the scientific community makes a discovery so important that it immediately changes the course of human evolution. I speak of course of the invention of the word blanet. I think we can all agree that this is the cutest word science has ever created.
However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be disappointed to know that a blanet isn’t actually a tiny little planet covered in soft, comfy blankets – it would have had a pillow moon, too. Blanets are in fact a theoretical class of planetary bodies proposed by astrophysicists that could exist in a safe zone adjacent to a black hole.
Scientists have long hypothesized that black holes could host planetary bodies. The big idea is that a Singularity is infinitely dense, but as you move further away there comes a point where it should logically be able to cling to a massive object and hold it in its gravity without devouring it.
The same (sort of) happens when planets form around stars, as our solar system did around our sun.
[[Lire: Voici ce qui se passerait si un trou noir combattait un trou de ver]
A new study by astrophysicists in Japan is trying to shed light on how blanets might form within the gravitational limits of a black hole. In essence, the researchers calculate that the Blanetary Formation would function quite similar to its planetary cousins.
According to the researchers’ pre-print study on arXiv:
We have proposed that a new class of planets, the blanets (i.e. black hole planets) could be formed, provided that the standard scenario of the formation of the planets is present in the circumnuclear disc. Here, we studied in more detail the physical conditions of blanet formation outside the snow line (rsnow ∼ several parsecs), in particular by considering the effect of radial advection of dust aggregates.
Planets are formed when dust swirls swirl around a star merge into a disk from which a planet is mined. In black holes, the same essential function is at work, but the end result would not look anything like Earth or other bodies that we are likely to recognize as a planet. According to the study:
Our results suggest that blanets could form around relatively low-light active galactic nuclei (AGNs) during their lifetime (. 108 years). The gaseous envelope of a blanet must be negligible compared to the mass of the blanet. Therefore, the blanets system is extraordinarily different from the standard Earth type planets in exoplanet systems.
Other astrophysicists have postulated hypothetical star systems fused with black holes. In these scenarios, the scientists proposed a binary / star singularity paradigm where a black hole and a star of equal mass would exist in perfect equilibrium. Under such circumstances – which are incredibly specific – hundreds of habitable planets could revolve around the black sun binary in a belt.
Both theories are based on calculations and explain more about the mechanics and physics of black holes than the actual existence of blanets – which would require some pretty specific creation parameters. But that doesn’t stop us from imagining entire galaxies hidden inside the blurred edges of a supermassive black hole.
There is no reason the Milky Way, and us inside of it, couldn’t exist in a wispy spin from the outer edges of a huge super-duper black hole. Maybe deep down in the Earth was a blanet from the start. Then again, maybe it’s just turtles all the way down.
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