Three orbital black holes can change the direction of time. This conclusion was reached by astrophysicists from the University of Aveiro in Portugal under the supervision of Professor Tjard Beckholt. This is stated on the website of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Most laws of physics do not care in which direction time moves. The laws of Newtonian physics and the general theory of relativity work the same way if time moves forward – as in the existing Universe, or reversed, as in hypothetical models that various scientists are working on.

A team of scientists led by astronomer Tyarda Beckholt of the University of Aveiro in Portugal managed to prove that it takes only three gravitationally interacting bodies to break the symmetry with the reversal of time – that is, the direction in which time moves.

Until now, the quantitative relationship between chaos in dynamical systems and the level of time irreversibility has remained uncertain. In this work, we study the chaotic systems of three bodies in free fall, initially using the exact formulas of the gravitational problem of the n-body.

Astronomer Tyard Beckholt

The gravitational problem of n-bodies is a classic problem of celestial mechanics and Newton’s gravitational dynamics. It arises when several more different bodies are added to an existing gravitationally interacting system. The movements of two bodies of comparable size in orbit around a central point are relatively simple for mathematical prediction, according to Newton’s laws of motion and Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

However, as soon as you add another body, everything becomes more complicated. Bodies begin to gravitationally perturb each other’s orbits, introducing an element of chaos into this interaction. This means that although there are solutions for special cases, there is not a single formula – within the framework of Newtonian physics or the general theory of relativity – that would describe these interactions with complete accuracy.

During the simulation of n-bodies, physicists tried to turn back the clock in their results – in other words, to perform all simulations in the opposite direction. However, in this problem, violation of the symmetry of time does not return the body to the starting point.

Astronomers tested their hypothesis on a mathematical model of the movement of three black holes in two scenarios. In the first case, black holes moved towards each other in complex orbits, gradually removing one of them from this system. The second test scenario began where the first ended – the scientists tried to run these objects in the opposite direction, trying to restore this system to its original state. It turned out that in 5% of cases the return was impossible, since the task of the n-body is “fundamentally unpredictable”. To do this, scientists simply added the Planck length – a tiny extraneous object the size of a molecule.