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Astronomy blog

Why Are You Reading About Wormholes?

By travel
2/17/2012, 8:19:53 AM

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Normally, this is the time of year I catch spring fever. However, with the absolute lack of winter we have had here in central Pennsylvania and across almost all of the Lower 48, I thought this year may be different. Not true! Still looking forward to watching my beloved Red Sox, going snake-hunting in the woods and near streams and getting my garden going.

I figured spring fever would be a perfect transition for wormholes. But not the kind you see robins patrolling. Nope, these wormholes are of the cosmic variety.

First off, wormholes arise in solutions to Einstein's general relativity field equation (you know, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared), but are as of yet purely theoretical.

Wormholes are a popular subject because, if real, they could allow the possibility of time travel since they are shortcuts in space and time.

So what exactly is a wormhole, if they exist? Maybe this image will help somewhat.


350x228_02171252_wormhole_graphic

Basically, a wormhole is a "shortcut" that would allow travel between two points at apparently faster-than-light speeds. They are so named using the analogy of spacetime to the surface of an apple.

Wormholes require negative matter, an exotic substance that has never been observed and whose existence is not predicted by the standard model of particle physics.

A wormhole conceptually has to fold the two dimensional concept of space and time to create a three dimensional situation. The wormhole then becomes the passageway from one dimension to the other. A wormhole is theorized to be made up of three parts, two mouths and a throat.

Basically, to have a wormhole you need to have matter that breaks a couple of established laws of behavior for particles and cannot have known heavy matter (protons and neutrons) particles in it.

NASA's rendition of a spaceship that is able to pass through wormholes

350x276_02171242_84575main_wormhole

Wormholes are generally above my paygrade, so to speak. I just wanted to throw this subject out there and see if anyone else knows more about them or would like to discuss them.

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