Sunday, December 24, 2017
GREATEST OUTER SPACE MYSTERIES
Yesterday I posted on what first appeared to be trivial mysteries, until I concluded with what could well be the one most important thing you can still do to maximize your longevity: good sleep. Tomorrow, I share the truth about Jesus Christ, for, after all, December 25 is supposed to be his birthday.
Outer space is so large and profound that mysteries abound. The Big Bang is no longer considered to be all that perplexing, unless you're a conservative Republican. However, astrophysicists today are bollixed by Black Holes, Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
Black holes are at the center of most of the 2 trillion galaxies in the observable Universe. They are invisible and can have a diameter as large as our solar system. Most galaxies have supermassive black holes (SMBH) on the order of a many hundreds to billions of solar masses, yet, there are exceptions, for the supergiant elliptical cD galaxy A2261-BCG, one thousand times the mass of our Milky Way, has no black hole. Why?
Has anyone actually seen a SMBH (said to be about as large as the Sun) in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy? Well, ah, no, for you can't actually see a black hole. You can, however, study the nearby environs, that is, stars in predictable movements, to gain a sense that something is there. Just this year, scientists reported on the second largest black hole in our midst, one hundred thousand times more massive than our Sun, located only 200 light years from the center of our galaxy.
As light takes 100,000 years just to get from one end of our galaxy to the other, this is very close, indeed, to the middle. We really don't need to worry much, for black holes only suck nearby objects, and we are comfortably situated about half a full radius away from the center. That photo of our Milky Way was taken by the satellite COBE, and the thickness is about 1000 light years.
However, in the long term, our closest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, will crash into us. But that is still 4 billion years from now. Planet Earth is 4.54 billion years old. Again, nothing worth worrying over. And, by the way, you want further confusion? Our Milky Way is twice as large as Andromeda. However, Andromeda has more stars, but not as much dark matter.
Now that you don't know much about black holes, let me delve into two other mysteries which are also today invisible to currently available technology. That pie chart keeps changing. You'll see variation over time because scientists are just guessing anyway. The absolute latest numbers are 68.3%, 26.8% and 4.9%. You can touch your nose and gaze into outer space. What you feel and see are only about 5% of what is really there. Even the Old Testament of The Bible has more confirmable facts, if you believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls found from 1947, and measured to be 2000 years old, are authentic.
So back to the science, Dark matter, something no one has felt or seen, is about a quarter of the Universe. Appropriately enough, this still missing piece of reality is surmised to be composed of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) and MACHOs (massive astrophysical compact halo object). Like black holes, dark matter is inferred from gravitational effects of atoms and the like.
Now that you know almost as much about black holes and dark matter as renowned scholars in the field, let me educate you on an even greater mystery, dark energy, which is most of what we have in the Universe. Why are scientists even suggesting there is such a thing when then can't find it? I'm not showing you this vase-like diagram to further confuse you. This artful piece of graphics notes that 75 billion years ago our Universe expanded faster than expected, which can only be explained by a mysterious dark force which they named dark energy. At this point, you might as well also believe in magic.
I'll finalize by showing you The Giant Void:
Picture the vastness of the Universe. Remember, it takes 100,000 light years for light to cross our Miky Way Galaxy. This super void, also known as the Bootes Void, has a diameter of 1.3 billion light years. Again, some contradictory conjecture, for Wikipedia says this sphere only has a diameter of 330 million light years. The emptiness is statistically meaningful, but there are 60 galaxies in this almost empty ball, when there should be 2000. In any case, one hypothesis is that lots of Dark Energy rest in these voids. Yup, taxpayers fund these astronomical studies.
Tomorrow, I expand on a recent National Geographic front page article on The Real Jesus: