Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life...or something like it.

Astronomers think they have found a rare, if not unique, black hole very near the center of the Milky Way. That would make 2 of the beasts in that part of the galaxy alone.
A black hole is a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape.
Around a black hole is an undetectable surface which marks the point of no return, called the event horizon. Astronomers have detected numerous black holes and have found evidence of supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies.
Many black holes are created by a dying star with a mass greater than 20 times the mass of our sun. When a very massive star exhausts it explodes as a supernova. If the core is very massive, no known repulsive force inside a star can push back hard enough to prevent gravity from completely collapsing the core into a black hole. Then the core compacts into a mathematical point with virtually zero volume, where it is said to have infinite density. This is referred to as a singularity.
Supermassive black holes swallow matter from its surrounding galaxy at a rate of about 1 solar mass per year. The energy released when this occurs can be as much as half the theoretical maximum implied by e=mc^2, this is ample to explain the energetic output of a quasar. This is the most probable explanation for what produces a quasar. A quasar is actually a compact object in space, usually with a large red shift indicating extreme remoteness, that emits huge amounts of energy, sometimes equal to the energy output of an entire galaxy. It is thought now that quasars may be fueling star creation.

The point to all this information is that the other night I was watching the Discovery Channel, and listening to Steven Hawking, and it was just all so interesting and captivating. Although astronomers can't be sure yet, as they are just now beginning to try to understand black holes, and everything that goes with them, they are thinking that it's possible that a black hole emitting a quasar is what could have created our galaxy, along with every other galaxy. Due to the fact that we can't get close to a black hole, we are not yet able to fully understand them. However, astronomers and scientists are leaving the possibilities of time travel by black holes open. They're thinking, that maybe, black holes could be like a short cut across the universe. Not only that, but due to the fact that time virtually stops inside a black hole, that could be the key to possible time travel.

Now the down side to all of this, is that it could in fact disprove the whole creationism theory. Which is a whole other blog in itself, so I'll save that for another time.

What really gets me with all of this is that, through all of this, I'll call it "magic", how are we to really think that planet Earth is the only one with life? There are sooo many stars and planets that we have yet to even discover do to the fact that our universe is probably never ending. It really makes me think about what else, or who else, is out there. It's just a shame that the answers to all of my questions probably wont be discovered until long after I'm gone.

The terrifying thing about black holes is that, theoretically, if a supermassive black hole got within approximately a few hundred AU of us, it would start to seriously disrupt the orbits of the planets in our solar system, including Earth. So we would very quickly start to either boil or freeze to death, as we'd either get too close, or too far away from the Sun. There are so many possibilities of things that could happen to Earth at this point. We could fall into the Sun. We could be thrown out of the solar system, or even into the black hole. Once the black hole came within 1 AU of Earth, the gravitational tidal forces would rip the Earth itself apart. It would probably take a few years at least after the Earth's orbit around the sun is disrupted (and everyone either freezes or boils to death) until the Earth gets close enough to the black hole to break up. Although this ending is highly unlikely, it theoretically could happen. And that's what terrifies the crap out of me!

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