Gravitational Waves could Reveal the Shape of Wormholes

Gravitational Waves could Reveal the Shape of Wormholes

The electromagnetic radiation and light from wormholes might help in determining the shape of this exotic object.

Any mathematical model which merges three dimensions of space with the one dimension of time to produce a single 4-dimensional continuum is called Space-time. This phenomenon is closely associated with Wormholes, a speculative structure that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe. However, they come with massive dangers like high radiation, contact with harmful exotic matter, and sudden collapse. Although Einstein’s theory of relativity gives room for this amazing gateway, there is no physical evidence to confirm it.

Most of the times, they are explained as gaping gravity wells that are connected by a narrow tunnel. The explanation given in this regard suggests that a black hole, which lies at one end, pulls the surrounding matter into the tunnel while a ‘White Hole’ on the other side spits that material at a far-off location from the point of origin in space and time. Despite this philosophy, scientists haven’t been able to confirm the shape of wormholes until now. Having said that, things may change dramatically following a recent development.

Roman Konoplya, a Russian Physicist who serves as an Associate Professor at the Institute of Gravitation and Cosmology in the People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), devised a method that can be used to figure out the shape of symmetric wormholes. He used the knowledge about light and gravitational waves (ripples in space-time) for his discovery. Konoplya mentioned that there is one property of a wormhole that can be observed (indirectly), a Redshift in the light near it.

The term ‘Redshifting’ refers to a decrease in the frequency of light wavelengths when they travel away from an object, resulting in a shift to the red part of the spectrum. The study explained that if we could find the manner in which light redshifts around a potential wormhole, the shape of the structure can be determined by making use of the frequencies of gravitational waves. Konoplya also agreed that researchers, generally, work in a completely opposite way as the behavior of light and gravity is observed after figuring out the geometry of the object.

He elaborated two different methods for checking the redshift near a potential wormhole. The first one of them will measure the electromagnetic radiation near the wormhole as more and more attracted towards it. The other technique will use the bending of light rays as they pass by massive objects (gravitational lensing). This lensing will be used to measure the faint light coming from distant stars. Konoplya also expressed hope that they might get a brighter light from a nearby star if they are incredibly lucky.

Jolyon Bloomfield, a Lecturer in the Physics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), compared these methods with striking a drum. He said that the behavior of the waves produced by the taut skin of the drum reveals the shape of the musical instrument. Similarly, these methods will help the scientists to predict the shape of symmetric wormholes. He suggested that by saying,

All the different frequencies — that tells you the different vibrational modes of that taut skin. Meanwhile, the peaks and valleys of those vibrations gradually decay in time, which shows how the modes are “damped.” Those two pieces of information together can help you define the shape of the drum. What this paper is doing is kind of the same thing for a wormhole. If we are actually able to ‘listen’ to decaying frequencies of oscillation of a wormhole with enough precision, we can infer the shape of the wormhole by the spectrum of the frequencies and how fast they decay.”

Konoplya used redshift values of a wormhole for his experiment and incorporated quantum mechanics to get an idea about the effects of gravitational ripples in space-time on the electromagnetic waves of the wormhole. He gathered all the necessary data and formulated an equation which can be used to calculate the mass and geometric shape of a wormhole.

The measurement of gravitational waves is quite a difficult task in itself and has been around for only 4 years. It was introduced in 2015 with the invention of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Having said that, it needs considerable improvement in order to analyze exotic matter. Konoplya mentioned that LIGO can measure only one frequency of gravitational waves while they need several frequencies to predict a shape for wormholes. He talked about the quality of the data in the following words:

From such poor data, it is impossible to extract enough information for such a complex thing as a geometry of a compact object. Our results may be applied to rotating wormholes as well, provided they are symmetrical enough.”

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