Key to Finding Wormholes is Looking for 'Small Deviations' in the Expected Orbit of Stars, Say Scientists

Wormholes are essentially passages between two points of time and space. However, while they are regularly a featured trope on sci-fi, there is no solid evidence that they exist in the real world.

This has not stopped physicists attempting to work out how you would spot one if they did—because while there is no proof they do exist, they are at least theoretically possible.

According to two physicists writing in the journal Physical Review D, the key is to look for small deviations.

While we still do not know if they exist in the first place, it is generally presumed that the best place to start looking is the area around black holes or binary black hole systems, which involve two black holes circling one another. The reason for this is that astrophysicists believe that extremely strong gravitational conditions are a pre-requirement for wormholes.

For this study, the researchers honed in on Sagittarius A*—an object at the center of the Milky Way that scientists suspect is a black hole.

"If you have two stars, one on each side of the wormhole, the star on our side should feel the gravitational influence of the star that's on the other side," co-author Dejan Stojkovic, PhD, cosmologist and professor of physics in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. "The gravitational flux will go through the wormhole"

"So if you map the expected orbit of a star around Sagittarius A*, you should see deviations from that orbit if there is a wormhole there with a star on the other side."

black hole
While we still do not know if they exist in the first place, it is generally presumed that the best place to start looking is the area around black holes Elen11/iStock

Therefore, their method involves studying for these small deviations that they say could give away the presence of a black. The researchers suggest scientists could do this by looking out for disturbances in a star that orbits Sagittarius A*—they propose the star S2.

One problem with putting this plan into action is, as Stojkovic mentions, that the sophistication of current technology is not quite up to scratch and would not be precise enough to spot small perturbations that could signal a wormhole.

That does mean it couldn't in the future, however. More precise measurements might one day make it possible to discern these tiny deviations. Alternatively, Stojkovic says that continuing to collect data on S2 for an extended period may be a way to sidestep this dilemma.

A larger problem may be that even if we are able to observe and record deviations in S2's orbit, we would not be able to say with any certainty that the cause of those disturbances is the presence of a wormhole. The method may be able to determine whether or not there is a possibility a wormhole may be present but it would not be able to determine whether or not there is.

Finally, even if there was a way to prove with complete certainty that there is a wormhole and there was a way to reach said wormhole, it is unlikely they will be able to transport anyone through time and space (as they do in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure), says Stojkovic.

"Realistically, you would need a source of negative energy to keep the wormhole open, and we don't know how to do that. To create a huge wormhole that's stable, you need some magic," he explained.