Again? From NOVA:Today, there is wide scientific consensus that black holes are real. Even though they can’t be observed directly—by definition, they give off no light—astronomers can infer their hidden presence by watching how stars, gas, and dust swirl and glow around them.
But what if they’re wrong? Could something else—massive, dense, all-but-invisible—be concealed in the darkness?
A telescope as big as the Earth could tell a black hole from an exotic imposter.
While black holes have gone mainstream, a handful of researchers are investigating exotic ultra-compact stars that, they argue, would look exactly like black holes from afar. Well, almost exactly. Though their ideas have been around for many years, researchers are now putting them to the most stringent tests ever, looking to show once and for all that what looks and quacks like a black hole really is a black hole. And if not? Well, it could just spark the next revolution in physics.
To Broderick, though, the big question isn’t which model will win out, it’s whether these new experiments can find a flaw in general relativity. “For 100 years, general relativity has been enormously successful, and there’s no hint of where it breaks,” he says. Yet general relativity and quantum mechanics, which appears equally shatterproof, are fundamentally incompatible. Somewhere, one or both must break down. But where? Boson stars and gravastars might not be the answer. Still, exploring these exotic possibilities forces physicists to ask the questions that might lead them to something even more profound. More.
Any chance these people need a revolution too badly? Lots of good science has got done despite the fundamental incompatibility of general relativity ad quantum mechanics.
Question: Would the researchers want the “even more profound ” answer if it absolutely ruled out the multiverse? Or underscored fine-tuning? Or would they then go looking for an even more “more profound” answer that brings them back?
See also: Why so much of today’s cosmology seems unreal.