The information locked inside black holes could be detected by feeling their ‘hair,’ new research suggests.
Black holes are celestial objects with such massive gravity that not even light can escape their clutches once it crosses the event horizon, or point-of-no-return. The event horizons of black holes lock secrets deep within them — secrets that could completely revolutionize our understanding of physics.
Unfortunately, for decades many scientists thought whatever information falls into a black hole might be lost forever. But new research suggests that ripples in spacetime, or gravitational waves may carry a faint whisper of this hidden information by revealing the presence of wispy “hairs” on a black hole’s surface.
As far as we understand them (which, admittedly, is not very much), black holes are suspiciously simple objects. Regardless of what falls in, whether stars, clouds of gas and dust, or your worst enemies, black holes can be described by three and only three simple numbers: charge, mass and spin.
That means that if you had two black holes of the exact same size, exact same electric charge, and spinning at exactly the same rate, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. The reason this is suspicious is that something had to happen to all that juicy information that fell into those two black holes. Did it get destroyed? Lost below the event horizon? Stuck in some inaccessible portion of the universe?