Wormholes may be a popular plot device for your favorite science fiction stories, but in the real world they are still theoretical hyper-space shortcuts first proposed by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.

A new study suggests that wormholes could leave imprints, or “shadows,” in the sky that might be seen with telescopes. This discovery could provide concrete proof that wormholes, the shortcuts of the universe, are real.

Wormholes are regions of space where space-time has become so warped that light no longer travels in a straight line. Researchers may have found shadows created in the surface of the wormhole when photons spin around the wormhole’s surface creating a ring of light.

Author sidenote: “Wormhole shadow” just happens to be my favorite alternative rock band. 

 

Rajibul Shaikh, lead author for the study, states that this method could be a means of also distinguishing wormholes from the other mysterious phenomenon in the universe, blackholes.  “We compare our results with that of the Kerr black hole. With increasing values of the spin, the shapes of the wormhole shadows start deviating considerably from that of the black hole.”

A blackhole shadow is so miniscule that it takes special equipment to discover them. In fact, astronomers have linked radio dishes across the globe to form an Earth-sized telescope, called the Event Horizon Telescope. Wormhole’s, on the other hand, would cast a much larger and distorted shadow.

Author sidenote 2: “Blackhole Shadow” is the name of my favorite time-traveling anime character

This could be the start of a wormhole-discovering revolution.  Rather than spending thousands of years traveling to neighboring solar systems, a wormhole could be a more convenient method of travel. That is, if we discover one near us, and it wouldn’t kill us in the process of entering it.

Those are big if’s.