centaurus chandra
This image of Centaurus shows jets and lobes powered by the central black hole in this nearby galaxy. A new study questions the very existence of black holes. Nasa

A scientist claims to have mathematical proof showing that black holes are perhaps just figments of imagination.

Going by theory, black holes come in all sizes ranging from an atom to a solar system, packed dense with matter that builds up gravity to colossal levels where even light cannot escape.

They are an elemental aspect of current theories of Big Bang and universe formation.

Albert Einstein's theory of gravity first predicted the formation of black holes while a fundamental law of quantum theory which states that no information from the universe can ever disappear questioned it.

But according to Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at the University of North Carolina, the two conflicting theories are both right when you remove black holes from the frame.

The physicist has postulated an entirely new theory that suggests a star does not die with a collapse inward but an explosion outwards.

While it does release the Hawking radiation, the dying star in the process of doing so, also loses much of its mass that takes away its potential for becoming a black hole.

There is no chance for a singularity or event horizon to form, she says.

Without singularities the theory of the Big Bang collapses.

Event horizons beyond which light disappears have been questioned by physicists who do not like the idea of information disappearing forever from the universe.

The Hawking radiation was formulated as radiation that reduces the mass and energy of the black hole, but this mass evaporation is nothing compared to the mass being consumed by the black hole.

If proved correct, the new research could force physicists to think afresh on how the Universe began.