By Meredith Fore
In 1974, Stephen Hawking made one of his most famous predictions: that black holes eventually evaporate entirely.
According to Hawking’s theory, black holes are not perfectly “black” but instead actually emit particles. This radiation, Hawking believed, could eventually siphon enough energy and mass away from black holes to make them disappear. The theory is widely assumed to be true but was once thought nearly impossible to prove.
For the first time, however, physicists have shown this elusive Hawking radiation — at least in a lab. Though Hawking radiation is too faint to be detected in space by our current instruments, physicists have now seen this radiation in a black hole analog created using sound waves and some of the coldest, strangest matter in the universe.
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