Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Wormholes are shortcuts in spacetime, throat-like links between otherwise distant parts of the Universe. There’s no evidence that they exist but they do arise mathematically as stable solutions to the equations of relativity, just like other exotic objects such as black holes.

There’s good evidence that black holes exist so astrophysicists can’t simply dismiss the other solutions. In fact, they’ve devoted a good deal of time and effort to working out how wormholes might form, what they would look like and what might keep them open.

But in thinking about wormholes, they’ve tended to imagine them as empty tunnel-like superhighways between one region of empty space and another.

But Vladimir Dzhunushaliev at the Eurasian National University in Kazakhstan and a few pals have a different idea. They say there’s no reason why wormholes can’t be packed full of matter. And today they unveil the properties of such objects.

They begin by imagining an ordinary star or a neutron star with a wormhole at its heart. “For a distant observer, such a star would very much look like an ordinary star,” they say.

However, there would be some important differences. For a start, this star would have to have a twin at the other end of the wormhole. These stars would be like Siamese twins, joined at the hip by the most bizarre of connections.

These twins would also pulse in an unusual way. That’s because the exotic matter in the wormhole would be able to flow back and forth, like liquid in a u-tube, setting up a kind of resonance that makes the stars oscillate.

That could lead to the release of energy in all kinds of ways, creating ultra high energy cosmic rays, for example.

It also means there ought to be a way of distinguishing these Siamese twins from other stars. That’s harder than it sounds, however.

The detailed calculations need to work out what oscillations are possible need to take account of the singularities that exist where wormholes are concerned. That makes them fiendishly difficult and certainly beyond Dzhunushaliev and co for the moment.

So they make no specific predictions about how astronomers could hunt down these objects.

That leaves an interesting puzzle for others to tackle. If stars can exist with wormholes at their centre, we’d obviously like to know what they look like so we can see whether there are any nearby. Time to get calculating.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1102.4454: A Star Harbouring A Wormhole At Its Center

8 comments. Share your thoughts »

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me