String Theory’s Surprising Twist: Black Holes Might Be Defects in Spacetime

Black Hole Astrophysics Spacetime Concept

A team of theoretical physicists, using string theory, have discovered a new structure in space-time known as a “topological soliton.” These structures appear to outside observers just like black holes, but in reality, they are defects in the fabric of the universe, devoid of any matter or forces.

Theoretical physicists have discovered a new space-time structure called a “topological soliton.” Resembling black holes to distant observers, these structures are actually defects in the universe’s fabric, lacking an event horizon. This finding could potentially help validate string theory, although it remains unproven as of now.

A team of theoretical physicists has discovered a strange structure in space-time that to an outside observer would look exactly like a black hole, but upon closer inspection would be anything but: they would be defects in the very fabric of the universe.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts the existence of black holes, formed when giant stars collapse. But that same theory predicts that their centers are singularities, which are points of infinite density. Since we know that infinite densities cannot actually happen in the universe, we take this as a sign that Einstein’s theory is incomplete. But after nearly a century of searching for extensions, we have not yet confirmed a better theory of gravity.

Two Merging Black Holes

Artist view of a binary black hole system. Credit: LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)

But we do have candidates, including string theory. In string theory, all the particles of the universe are actually microscopic vibrating loops of string. In order to support the wide variety of particles and forces that we observe in the universe, these strings can’t just vibrate in our three spatial dimensions. Instead, there have to be extra spatial dimensions that are curled up on themselves into manifolds so small that they escape everyday notice and experimentation.

That exotic structure in spacetime gave a team of researchers the tools they needed to identify a new class of object, something that they call a topological soliton. In their analysis, they found that these topological solitons are stable defects in space-time itself. They require no matter or other forces to exist – they are as natural to the fabric of space-time as cracks in ice. 

The researchers studied these solitons by examining the behavior of light that would pass near them. Because they are objects of extreme space-time, they bend space and time around them, which affects the path of light. To a distant observer, these solitons would appear exactly as we predict black holes to appear. They would have shadows, rings of light, the works. Images derived from the Event Horizon Telescope and detected gravitational wave signatures would all behave the same.

It’s only once you got close would you realize that you are not looking at a black hole. One of the key features of a black hole is its event horizon, an imaginary surface that if you were to cross it you would find yourself unable to escape. Topological solitons, since they are not singularities, do not feature event horizons. So you could in principle go up to a soliton and hold it in your hand, assuming you survived the encounter.

These topological solitons are incredibly hypothetical object, based on our understanding of string theory, which is not yet been proven to be a viable update to our understanding of physics. However, these exotic objects serve as important test studies. If the researchers can discover an important observational difference between topological solitons and traditional black holes, this might pave the way to finding a way to test string theory itself.

Adapted from an article originally published on Universe Today.

20 Comments on "String Theory’s Surprising Twist: Black Holes Might Be Defects in Spacetime"

  1. Perhaps black holes are entry points to the multiverse that our universe sprung from? Perhaps if we can enter the true multiverse, we will be able to see all the child universes hung off of the multiverse?

    • Black holes are the recycling mechanism for this universe. This will become apparent through observation with better instruments.

      These non-event-horizon (NEH) singularities are however closer to your hypothesis.

  2. Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 12:10 am | Reply

    No reason is given to think one can jump from singular solutions to objects with more features without loosening the ultimately-unverifiable requirement for “c” to be constant.

    • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 12:24 am | Reply

      Maybe this story is inspired by another one: “Peering Into the Abyss: Machine Learning Enhances M87 Black Hole Image”

      It all still seems to be most easily explainable using nothing more than optical metrologists running wild, with inevitable help from a snapped wine glass stem. Not sure what could help to get my mind right on this incredibly important point with profound implications on the ultimate fate of the universe and thus to the meaning of life for non-royals and such.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 12:38 am | Reply

        Too many interesting ideas are avoided in the artificial sterility of keeping light-speed independent of gravity. The “problem” is apparently easily avoided by adding the kinks to be found in the simplest foundational twists. Maybe there’s a cool string reason to see three jets at once, besides the existence of three external objects upon which to focus a jet.

        • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 12:57 am | Reply

          I refer of course to “A Deeper Look Into M87*: New Black Hole Images Reveal a Glowing, Fluffy Ring and a High-Speed Jet” here.

          Maybe there truly is only one black hole jet there and I am cursed seeing triple. Even worse than that, possibly, the hole itself vaguely resembles an octahedral diamond-shape to me. I will avoid going into multiverses or super-massive objects that can collapse all entanglements, so I guess that’s about all I have to say about this wild extra-mathematical apologist c=nonconstant expedition.

    • Verbal diarrhea again? You need to take your meds.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 7:16 am | Reply

        Ypou have the perfect name for a prideful and obscenely stupid idiotic bore, TheHeck.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 7:19 am | Reply

        “Verbal diarrhea again?”

        Only one question, a**hat… How could a perfect s***head like you tell the difference?

      • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 7:21 am | Reply

        The Einstein worship club is missing its head idiot.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 7:34 am | Reply

        It’s my style to divide my comments into a series of short comments. If you don’t like that, you can continue to be a braindead thug. but frankly I don’t give a cr@-p, you idiotic lying sh!thead.

  3. Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 1:29 am | Reply

    More realistically, I believe, one can imagine quark stars with various degrees of internal coherence, much like lattices with varying densities of 3D flaws.

    • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 11:34 am | Reply

      In words the children that “TheHeck” has its 2-dimensional extradimensional wordless trampoline-loving eyes firmly fixed upon may better use to reject his hero, Albert, it seems most likely that


      … instead of some rainbow wormhole-bridge-troll-friendly topological defects in a space confused with time because it’s perpetually cool to confuse space and time with the best of the world’s most famous false flagging freedom fighters.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | May 18, 2023 at 11:41 am | Reply

        In other words …


        … in case someone needs a free consonant.

  4. Fixed gravity for you. | May 20, 2023 at 12:35 am | Reply

    A “black hole” is where information disappears, and relativity space-plus-time experts, who have zero respect for what combining particles should be all about, demonstrate that when information disappears common sense is sure to follow, along with an interest-free permanent status-conforming mortgage from a monk named Ockham, then they seek solace in spaghettifications and wormholes, because gravity is not a force, and they know that must mean resistance is futile. It’s supposed to be hilarious, not my problem if you’re offended by the lack of academic rigor, imaginary word salad, gobbledygook, or whatever it is the BS gravy de jour privileged Einstein fan-club imaginary excuse involves.

    • Fixed gravity for you. | May 20, 2023 at 3:15 am | Reply

      String theorists have notions of what makes a “reasonable” space-time defect, and the holographic gravity approach apparently suggests a photosphere will show signs of one or more reasonable space-time defects. The defect itself presents a particle with a dilemma even before the information conservation conundrum must be addressed, and a “no force” bent-space doctrine can only dictate a multiverse branch with a consequent standard lack of concern for energy conservation. The controversy apparently stems from a radio array image of a black hole accretion disk that has been so over-processed by a hallucinating AI process that it consequently resembles a mobius strip, but apparently no one else wants to reduce the controversy to that level so concretely.

      Incidentally I suppose there’s a process one has to go through to graduate from bent spacetime’s demand for constant “c.” The first step involves recognizing that gravitational pull is information that consequently always has to be partitioned as quanta carrying moving gravitational information flows. With that realization there is promise that there need be no last second dilemma for a particle to face with no solution but to violate some conservational norm.

  5. Nicholas Jones | May 20, 2023 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    Wow, what a manure-flinging narcissist slap-fight comment session this article about apparent huge concentrations of gravity-compressed matter actually being weird little glitches in the matrix has generated.Fascinating, Jim. Actually, it is alarming that a pandemic of narcissistic aggression is decompiling our ability to peacefully co-exist. Perhaps our solar system is passing through a huge region of dark matter and/or energy.

  6. Nicholas Jones | May 20, 2023 at 4:03 pm | Reply

    Speaking of Quarks, I once posited that if one is betting on the outcome of a cosmic massive mutual annihilation event, all the evidence one must present to claim a win on that cosmic bet would be one Quark difference in the remaining matter.

  7. Nicholas Jones | May 20, 2023 at 5:00 pm | Reply

    Hey waiter, there is a blob of Higgs bosons in my quark soup! and where in the multiverse is my quantum foam? Not that I would eat this bowl with that boson booger in it anyway, so bring me a new bowl pronto, grate me some muon cheese in there, and don’t tack that on my bill, I ain’t paying no more than a pico gram of unobtainium for that, so if you want your tip, snap to!

  8. some peeps really gotta get out more.. or to therapy

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