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If there was a wormhole in the center of our galaxy, how could we tell? Two physicists propose that carefully watching the motions of a star orbiting the Milky Way's supermassive black hole might help scientists start to check. The researchers published the idea in a recent paper in the journal Physical Review D. 

A wormhole is a hypothetical concept that connects two separate areas of space-time. Wormholes often appear in science fiction narratives like the 2014 film Interstellar as a convenient way to get from point A to point B in the vast universe. Physicists have many theories that describe how wormholes might behave, if they exist, but haven’t yet found any.

De-Chang Dai of Yangzhou University in China and Dejan Stojkovic of the University at Buffalo decided to tackle the question of how scientists might test whether a wormhole exists in the center of the Milky Way.

For this to be possible, the wormhole would have to be “traversable.” In this type of wormhole, space-time curves dramatically from either side of the wormhole to meet at a narrow “mouth” in the middle, which contains a black hole (such as, for example, the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way).

A traversable wormhole allows information from one side, like light or the influence of gravity, to pass through to the other side. This is the key to the physicists’ proposal for checking whether there’s a wormhole at the center of the Milky Way. If a wormhole connects the center of our galaxy to another distant region of the universe, objects close to our side of the wormhole would feel the gravitational pull of objects on the other side of the wormhole.

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Category: Science