Shocking Singularities from Shockwaves PredictedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 27, 2012 12:09PM
General Relativity is an interesting theory, to say the least. It describes gravity as the curvature of spacetime and predicts some interesting things including black holes and gravitational waves. One of the assumptions of the theory however, is that any local area within spacetime will appear to be flat. Singularities, like those within black holes cannot be viewed this way however, and now researchers at the University of California, Davis have found that the meeting of two shockwaves can also produce a singularity.
The ability to consider an area as flat is very valuable as it simplifies the geometries involved. Singularities however have such extreme curvature that it is not possible to do consider them as flat areas. In the 1960s researchers were able to show that shockwaves rippling through spacetime would not be able to produce such extreme curvature. Now the UC Davis researchers have mathematically shown that the collision of two shockwaves can curve spacetime enough to create a regularity singularity.
The researchers are now working to see if these singularities are something we can realistically observe and measure. If we can we may be able to use them to study shockwaves interacting within stars, including the Sun.