No, I’m not talking about A.I.G. or Wall Street bailouts – those Black Holes are quite real… I’m talking about the giant objects in space, whose gravity is so strong, “nothing, not even light can escape.”
Real and Genuine Pictures of Black Holes*:
(*Well, they’re as “real” as N.A.S.A.’s – see below).
When I was a boy, a Black Hole was something you found in fiction, not in genuine Astronomy. They lived in comic books and sci-fi novels, but nobody took them seriously. Serious-minded researchers considered them ‘purely theoretical.’
Why? Because, according to ‘Black Hole Theory,’ these space demons are.. Invisible! They can not be seen, under any circumstance. They ‘bend light and warp time.’ Mischievous devils…
You can’t see them in the sky. Only the specially-trained can view them – in their minds, or on their computers. Why?
Because Black Holes are made of numbers – they are equations – they are not made out of common sense or of plain and simple observation…
Being purely theoretical, they can be bent to suit any purpose – they can be made infinitely big or small, strong or weak; the theory is so flexible, and so unreal, that it can be altered to suit any new and contradictory observation.
Is this the sign of a good theory? Or a good fib? (Or a good myth?)
When Odysseus sailed around the Aegean Sea, thrown hither and yon by vengeful Gods, he encountered the sucking whirlpool monster, from which no ship could escape – Charybdis – and the multi-headed Scylla, who tore his sailors from their oars, and devoured them – ‘gobbled them up.’
Were there actual monsters in the ancient Aegean? Or were these monsters, instead, explanations of the wild and ferocious sea itself, from which many ships did not return?
And so we ask the same of Black Holes. Are they real monsters, or are they colorful inventions made to explain the ferocious activity in an outer space that we do not properly understand?
Today, the major science journals publish weekly updates on the many oddities and contradictions of these space monsters – except the science journals assert, without blushing, that they are entirely real, and that anybody who says otherwise is, well, in denial.
Pictures of “Real Black Holes”*
*(as imagined by N.A.S.A. artists and other approved theorists – see credits below images):
These journals go on to list the thousand contradictory ‘facts’ (inferences, hypotheses, and ‘best guesses’) about these same Black Holes – Black Holes can, apparently, do anything that researchers need them to, to explain what is happening in space:
“Yes, they suck! They are made from immensely strong gravity! Nothing can escape…But things do! Black Holes… also blow!
Yes, they pull, but they also push! Yes, they are powered by gravity…but the gravity is weak! They are really magnetic!
Yes, nothing gets out, but Black Holes SHOOT material this way and that, and fill space with debris and stars and galaxies and matter!
Yes, they’re super-massive but they’re also as small as your pocket! As small as an ATOM!
Do you want to buy one? Operators are standing by! (Send your check for $39.99 to N.A.S.A., and your very own Black Hole will be in the mail today)!”
It’s quite a show…So let’s see if what they say is true.
Below find an ever-growing list of ‘facts,’ that is, assertions, about Black Holes, as recorded in mainstream news reports and science journals. And keep in mind the following questions:
- How many contradictions can a theory have, before the theory is declared a comic book?
- And how often do we let scientists get away with myth-making, in their pursuit of bad theories?
Black Hole Quotes – “Scientists Say…”
(Please add your referenced quote to the collection – see below for details)
Nothing Can Escape from a Black Hole:
[UC Berkeley] Loosely speaking, a black hole is a region of space that has so much mass concentrated in it that there is no way for a nearby object to escape its gravitational pull. Since our best theory of gravity at the moment is Einstein’s general theory of relativity, we have to delve into some results of this theory to understand black holes in detail, but let’s start of slow, by thinking about gravity under fairly simple circumstances.
Black Holes are Invisible:
Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are extraordinarily energetic cores of galaxies powered by supermassive black holes.
AGN such as quasars, blazars, and Seyfert galaxies are among the most luminous objects in our Universe, often pouring out the energy of billions of stars.
Until recently many AGN have been a mystery because they have been invisible.
Black Holes Suck – and Blow!!
Black holes blow as well as suck
Bubbles of hot gas shoot from a giant black hole
By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse
Astronomers have seen a giant black hole blowing huge bubbles of hot gas.
Black Holes Shoot:
“This kind of eruption should have a specific X-ray signature detectable by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and may help prove the existence of the mid-sized black holes, the researchers say.”
* Note – “May help prove the existence of…” Of the thing that is stated to exist through the whole article
Black Holes Suck Less than Thought:
You’d Hardly Notice Being Sucked into a Black Hole:
“The tidal effect near such a supermassive black hole is far weaker than near a
stellar-mass black hole,” Poisson says. “So you would hardly notice as
you slip across the event horizon and into the interior.”
“Fortunately, such behemoths do exist. No one is quite sure how they
formed but astrophysicists now suspect that supermassive black holes
lurk at the heart of every galaxy, including the Milky Way.”
– Black Hole Survival Guide, New Scientist
Note: “They ‘DO EXIST’ (scientists ‘suspect’)…”
Black Holes are Really, Really (Really Big! “Scientists Think!”)
Using a new computer model, astronomers have determined that the black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy is at least twice as big as previously thought. Weighing in at 6.4 billion times the Sun’s mass, it is the most massive black hole yet measured, and this new model suggest[s] that the accepted black hole masses in other large nearby galaxies may be off by similar amounts.
And Really Strong! But also “Wimpy!”
The Washington Post, January 15, 2000: The supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy appears to be sort of a wimp, surprised astronomers announced today.
But, Really, Even Bigger:
The biggest things in the universe just got bigger – or rather, they’ve always been bigger and we somehow missed it up to now. Supercomputer simulations of galactic core black holes indicate that instead of being a mere two billion times the mass of the sun, so insignificant you’d surely lose them if you sneezed, some could be as large as six billion suns.
Even Bigger! As Big as a Whole Galaxy!
The most massive known black hole in the universe has been discovered, weighing in with the mass of 18 billion Suns. Observing the orbit of a smaller black hole around this monster has allowed astronomers to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity with stronger gravitational fields than ever before.
The black hole is about six times as massive as the previous record holder and in fact weighs as much as a small galaxy. It lurks 3.5 billion light years away, and forms the heart of a quasar called OJ287. A quasar is an extremely bright object in which matter spiralling into a giant black hole emits copious amounts of radiation.
Just how big can black holes get? Craig Wheeler of the University of Texas in Austin, US, says it depends only on how long a black hole has been around and how fast it has swallowed matter in order to grow. “There is no theoretical upper limit,” he says.
Ah, science without theoretical limits… always a sign of…
Hey, are these things still invisible? Just wondering!
But wait… there’s more!
Black Holes are Small! (“Scientists Imagine!”)
Only a few dozen kilometers:
Since stellar black holes are small (only a few to a few tens of kilometers in size), and light that would allow us to see them cannot escape, a black hole floating alone in space would be hard, if not impossible, to see. For instance, the photograph above shows the optical companion star to the (invisible) black hole candidate Cyg X-1.
Smaller Still – “Mini” and “Micro” Black Holes!
But Really, “Scientists Say,” as Small as an Atom!
“Black holes are among the oddest objects believed to populate the universe. Long sought, they have recently been “found” lurking in the centers of galaxies, tipping the scales at a million to a billion times the mass of the sun. Now, just to stir things up, enticing hints have come to the fore that tiny black holes may exist, and if so, they may hold the key to testing whether the universe has more to offer than the three familiar spatial dimensions of length, width, and height.”
“Tiny in this context means something around a billionth of a billionth of the mass of the sun—a couple billion tons, or the mass of a small asteroid. A black hole of this mass would be about the size of an atomic nucleus. Physicists have speculated that, when the universe was very young and hot, copious numbers of miniature black holes may have been produced. (To our knowledge, tiny black holes cannot form today.)”
And Really, Really Weak!
The gravity from these black holes is not very strong; you could add a few thousand of them to the solar system without really changing the planets’ orbits. You would need to get within 12 feet of one of these black holes to feel as much gravity as you normally feel here on Earth. So your neighbors could have a pet black hole, and you might not realize it. Not that they could hold onto it: as far as we know, miniature black holes would not experience the atomic forces that make matter solid, so they would pass right through the planet.
This list will be, like Black Hole theory itself, ever-expanding. Please join in by adding (in comments) to this list of quotes. Please cite your source, or post the link to the article your quoting. The quote will be added to the list below, and you’ll be added to the list of contributors at the beginning of the referenced quote section.