Black Hole Suns

This here image represents stars orbiting a supposed black hole - the only way, practically, to find black holes: by their effect on the matter around them.

The supposed black hole is the star icon in the center, and each different colored dot represents an actual measurement of a specific star's orbit, and the rest of the orbit is calculated therefrom.

Briefly as I can, black holes are the remnants of massive stars that go supernova. If the star is really big, but not quite big enough, it becomes a neutron star: essentially, a single nucleus the size of Manhattan, made of an incredibly dense fluid. And so on down the line, the smaller the star, the less dramatic will be the aftermath. Our star, for example, will puff up big for a while, but then simply shrink down and wink out, eventually, with no big explosion.

Anyways, a black hole could also be called a Singularity, a word used to describe what is frankly impossible in physics: Infinite mass in zero space. How could that be? The effect of the black hole on space-time (think of space time as a giant loaf of slowly expanding bread - every thing that has mass presses down onto this bread, depressing it to the degree of their mass.) is to essentially rip it - a depression in space time so deep we really don't know what is at the bottom, except for infinite gravity in zero space....

But! There is a thing down that hole which could be called the physical manifestation of the black hole: Matter, space-time itself falls down into the hole, faster than light, generating enormous, enormous, enormous energy (and heat). The further down you go the faster you fall, except you're also being compressed. As the compression and speed increase ever further down, eventually you reach a spot where there's just nothing more to do, and matter is actually forced back up the black hole, ever so briefly. There it meets the matter falling down, of course, creating an interference which we would describe as a cloud. A black cloud of inconcievably hot matter.

Finally, it is always interesting to me to consider that, supposedly, our Universe, our entire reality, was "big banged" out of a Singularity. And now, consider the notion of thousands of Singularities, tens of thousands, existing in every galaxy. Is it the same Singularity? The same kind or type? Something entirely different?

No one knows - but mark my words well: This notion of the Singularity, if we can ever tease meaning out of it, will be revolutionary.

No comments: