A new warp speed experiment could finally offer an indirect test of famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s most famous prediction about black holes.
The new proposal suggests that, by nudging an atom to become invisible, scientists could catch a glimpse of the ethereal quantum glow that envelops objects traveling at close to the speed of light.
The glow effect, called the Unruh (or Fulling-Davies-Unruh) effect, causes the space around rapidly accelerating objects to seemingly be filled by a swarm of virtual particles, bathing those objects in a warm glow. As the effect is closely related to the Hawking effect — in which virtual particles known as Hawking radiation spontaneously pop up at the edges of black holes — scientists have long been eager to spot one as a hint of the other’s existence.
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