Supermassive black holes may be responsible for turning a portion of the normal matter in space into the intergalactic voids that are scattered all over the universe, a new study says.
Ever since the discovery of black holes in space, researchers have wondered about what happens to all of the materials that get sucked into these massive vacuums.
While a number of theories have been raised over the years, including one that has black holes acting as wormholes to other parts of the universe, it remains largely uncertain as to the fate of these materials.
In a study, featured in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Markus Haider and his colleagues at the University of Innsbruck in Austria conducted cosmic simulations to find out what becomes of the normal matter that is absorbed by supermassive black holes.
Matter In The Universe
The universe we live in is made up entirely of matter. However, only a small fraction of it (4.9 percent) consists of normal matter, or those that are made of atoms. These are the objects that we can see in space, such as planets, stars, dust and even some gases.
The rest of the universe, on the other hand, is made of unseen dark matter (26 percent) and the mysterious dark energy (68.3 percent).
It also appears that matter isn't evenly distributed across the universe. Planets, stars and galaxies can be found on a "cosmic web", which is made of filaments that stretch for millions of light years and is located along the edge of massive voids.
About 80 percent of the universe is comprised of these voids in space.
Cosmic Web And Voids
Using data collected from simulations of the Illustris project, the researchers examined the amount of mass in the universe is kept in the cosmic web and how much of it is taken into the enormous voids.
They discovered that most of the dark matter can be found in the filaments of the cosmic web, while about a fifth of the normal matter is kept in the voids.
The researchers believe that this could be caused by supermassive black holes. It is very likely that these black holes convert the matter that they consume into energy and then eject them across the universe.
The dark matter, however, remains mostly unaffected by these sudden releases of energy and they stay inside the filaments of the cosmic web.
Haider said that their findings suggest that the black holes may actually serve a very important purpose in the universe. They help send out matter from the center of galaxies into the farthest reaches of space.