Dark matter, the invisible and mysterious stuff that makes up most of the material universe, might be hiding itself in microscopic black holes, says a team of Russian astrophysicists.
No one knows what dark matter is. But scientists do know that it must exist, because there is not enough visible matter in the cosmos to account for all the gravity that binds galaxies and other large-scale structures together.
Astronomers have been on the hunt for dark matter for decades now, using detectors both on Earth and in space. The new hypothesis, formulated by astrophysicists Vyacheslav Dokuchaev and Yury Eroshenko at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, suggests that dark matter could be made of microscopic — or quantum — “black hole atoms.”
The concept is not entirely new; others have suggested that various types of miniature black holes could make up dark matter, which is so named because it apparently neither absorbs nor emits light, and thus cannot be detected directly by telescopes.
Physicists have also long believed that microscopic black holes must have existed in the early universe, because quantum fluctuations in the density of matter just after the Big Bang would have created regions of space dense enough to allow the formation of such tiny black holes.
Some researchers believe that the universe could still be full of such “primordial black holes.”