Today I’d like to shed some light on blackness, that is, the absence of light. Yes, my pretties, Daddy’s gonna kick down some love about the places from whose borne no light returns.
They’re crazy, right? We “get” them (as edumacated people, right?), but do we really GET them? It’s difficult. In writing these words to get to the super hot link below that inspired this post I came across someone’s really rather nifty animation that makes it almost impossible NOT to totally get black holes. Cool, huh? (You DID click on that hotlink, right? And watch that cool animation?? ;-) However, it is only an animation. Super cool, but still. Well so the actual point of this post is rather another video I found that absolutely made me stop and say….wow. Cuz it’s a video composite basically of real data collected from stuff that’s been happening over the last 16 years in the immediate vicinity of a real black hole. And not just any old black hole. We’re talkin’ about nothing less than the big fat ole black hole that as far as we earthlings are concerned, might as well be the Daddy of everything you and I see, hear, taste, touch, feel, beg borrow or steal. I’m talking, of course, about the black hole at the center of our galaxy. It’s about 26,000 light years away from us. That’s roughly, 156 quadrillion miles away. Pretty far. Apparently, though, right in the center, there are THOUSANDS of stars packed into an area that is smaller than the space between our own Daddy Star (the Sun, El Sol) and our nearest neighbor Star (Alpha Centauri), which is 7 light years — only 42 trillion miles — away. And deeper still toward center, is one star (SagA* they call it), that happens to currently be the object that we can see that is closest to the black hole at the center of it all. The star has been observed to be moving in an elliptical orbit around a region of space from which we detect absolutely no light radiation; a black hole as it were. But because of the unusually short duration of the orbit (15 years!!), and newfangled techniques to be able to better see into the galaxy’s center (usually obscured by clouds and other interstellar sundries) those wacky scientists have been able to offer the rest of us this totally unprecedented actual visualization of what a black hole REALLY does to space and things around it. And it’s all in such a short span of time that we human brains can easily grasp it.
The star is close enough to the hole that its orbit VERY noticeably boomerangs as it passes the closest point to the black hole’s event horizon (the border of it…from whose borne no thing not even light returns…) but far enough that it’s not going in yet. And the physical distance we’re talking about is 10 light DAYS. That’s about 164 billion miles.
That distance of 164 billion miles is only a few times farther than we on earth are at any given time from our fellow planet Neptune. So riffing on those neat hands-on-science moments our teachers used when we were young to help us grasp the scale of space: if the 30-foot high auditorium at school stands for the sun, a beebee stands for Mercury, Earth is a marble, Saturn’s a basketball, etc. So then a kid holding the marble/Earth stands 10 feet away from the auditorium, and the basketball/Saturn kid would be 80 feet further away, which is like 4 times as far as a normal sized living room, meanwhile the Neptune kid, holding a soccer ball, was a football field’s distance away from the kid holding the marble, a tiny little figure way out there on the school’s playing field, soccer ball barely discernible. OK, so now picture the whole city block where the school is, and imagine that school auditorium circling the block at 100 billion miles an hour and vroom! THAT’s the center of our galaxy!!!! lol
OK, but enough from me. To watch this video of the star’s 15 year trip around the black hole at the center of our galaxy, click on the pic below. And shhhhh. With the right kind of ears you’ll be able to see this dark globe and how its great sucking sound gives the galaxy and all that you love and all that you hate and all that is now and all that is gone and all that’s to come and everything under the sun that’s in tune its shape, warp, woofer, tweeter and extra action electrically vibrational megariffic suchness.