Space is littered with black holes that collapsing giant stars leave in their wake, but a miniature version could be passing through the Earth daily.

Unlike their staggeringly large counterparts that swallow everything, including light, mini black holes would instead hold objects in an orbit.

Their orbiting effect is similar to the way electrons orbit a nucleus without collapsing inwards, according to Aaron P. VanDevender of Halcyon Molecular in California, and J. Pace VanDevender from Sandia National Lab in New Mexico.

The VanDevenders theorise that some theoretical mini black holes are so small that they are able to exist on Earth as well as passing through it without doing any damage, the Daily Mail reports.

The pair believe that the microscopic size of these mini black holes means they obey similar quantum laws to atoms, making nearing particles orbit the holes, rather than being absorbed.

So while entire planets could be swallowed by a large black hole after passing its horizon, mini black holes could gravitationally bind matter around them in orbit.

The VanDevenders have labelled this theory the Gravitational Equivalent of an Atom (GEA) and have calculated that millions of kilos of mini black holes in dark matter form should pass through Earth each year.

And there{gt}s potentially no risk of the Earth being swallowed up as the mini black holes would pass so quickly through the planet that particles already bound in orbit around the GEA would be rapidly stripped from the mini black hole.

“It would be difficult, but not impossible (to detect one of the mini black holes passing through the Earth),” Aaron VanDevender said.