Over the years, black holes have taken on a mythic quality, imagined in fiction as being portals to alternate dimensions, but the cosmic phenomena is a real occurrence. By definition, black holes are a tear in the fabric of space-time. Black holes bend space and time into a perpetually collapsing vortex and nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light.
On August 21, International Business Times revealed that two scientists have found mathematical analogs to black holes on Earth in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Oceanic maelstroms, also known as whirlpools or eddies operate quite similarly to astronomical black holes. The maelstroms funnel water into an almost permanent spiral, trapping debris and living creatures that get too close. Hardly anything trapped inside the maelstroms is able to escape, much like what happens inside a black hole. This ground breaking discovery could provide new insights into how oceanic currents transport debris and the effects of climate change on ocean currents.
According to the Physics arXiv Blog, George Haller of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Francisco Beron-Vera, a professor at the University of Miami, have described their discovery with a quote from Edgar Allen Poe's 1841 story "A descent into a Maelstrom."
The edge of the whirl was represented by a broad belt of gleaming spray; but no particle of this slipped into the mouth of the terrific funnel.
The oceanic black holes have been observed via satellite imagery designed to spot the aquatic equivalent of black hole currents in the South Atlantic and and South-western Indian Ocean. According to researchers, the maelstroms are possible in the area due to the southbound Agulhas current in the Indian Ocean. The maelstroms are officially called "singularities" and can last for months and transport water of different temperatures to other parts of the ocean.
Over the course of three months, two maelstroms were found to mimic black hole behaviour. Haller and Beron-Vera were surprised by their findings. To find real-world examples of theoretical equations is a rare occurrence. Based on research on black holes carried about by Stephen Hawking, the scientists were able to detect the maelstroms by their rotating edges, which indicate the swirling vortex within. When contacted about the story, Professor Beron-Vera declined to comment as he and his colleague Haller are still coordinating an official press release and are unable to do interviews at the present time.