Researchers say the faster the universe grows, the faster black holes grow.
Well, this is disturbing.
Researchers say they’ve found evidence that the expanding universe is causing black holes to grow with it.
The team published their findings in the Astrophysical Journal Letters last week, making the claim that the universe expanding may be causing celestial objects, such as supermassive black holes, to expand as well.
"We have proposed that the mass of any black hole is proportional to the size of the universe," Kevin Croker, an astrophysicist at the University of Hawai’i and co-author of the paper, told Gizmodo.
Of course, this brings up the question of why objects like the Earth, or our Sun, don’t expand as well. The explanation is dense, but basically the argument is that they aren't large or old enough — though if their mass is eventually consumed by a black hole, they could join the phenomenon.
Perhaps more disconcerting is the fact that the objects could expand even more rapidly as time goes on.
"In any expanding universe, all black hole masses will grow this way," Croker told Giz. "If the expansion of the universe is accelerating, the black hole masses will grow faster and faster. So it’s not the acceleration of the expansion that causes the growth, just the expansion itself."
To reach their conclusions, the team modeled the size of two actual colliding black holes in relation to the expanding universe. They discovered that as the objects got closer to one another, they appeared to grow in proportion to the universe’s expansion.
The researchers also found that this growth could also occur in black holes that weren’t colliding, such as the ones at the centers of galaxies.
Of course, it’s all just a hypothesis… for now. The team hopes that more sophisticated instruments in the future will allow them to confirm their findings — though the thought of supermassive black holes getting even bigger isn’t exactly going to help us sleep better at night.
READ MORE: Black Holes Could Be Expanding Along With the Universe [Gizmodo]
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