Rasta Pasta Masta Pastafarian Einstein Brought Us High G Astronomy and thus Spaghettification
Even before Einstein developed General Relativity some astronomers considered stars that could have gravity so intense they would be like dark or frozen stars.
With Einstein’s General Relativity theory Schwarzchild calculated the radius of a massive body below which nothing, not even light, could escape gravity’s distortion of space-time, forming black holes. Now, of course, we are all fascinated by tidal disruption events as stars approach incautiously near black holes. The more casual but effective term – spaghettification - evokes the idea brilliantly, as well as having a delicious sound for scicomm! (How to prepare perfect pasta outside a black hole)
The math said black holes could exist but observation rather than inference from astronomical observations had to wait. Who can forget the exhilaration on Katie Bouman’s face when she first saw the M87 image from the Event Horizon Telescope, a fantastic collaborative effort of brilliant minds working with fabulous technology to turn our little pale blue dot of Earth into a unified baseline (technically using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) to link radio dishes across the globe to create an Earth-sized interferometer) for the consortium to weave an image together using terabytes of data, maths, minds, machine-learning and machines.
Andrea Ghez, an UCLA astrophysicist, became a Nobel Laureate in 2020 for her role in the discovery of a supermassive object at the core of the Milky Way – thankfully a small step in the ongoing progress to equalize the award of the Nobel Prizes. That object is now known to be Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short. Founding member of the EHT consortium astronomer Feryal Özel said that seeing the black hole's image was like finally meeting in real life a person you've only interacted with online.
Now, whether the universe is a hologram, a simulation or not we know astrophysicists will continue to wrestle with the question marks twisting in vortices approaching the bottomless pits of black holes. And maybe the JWST will help us see primordial black holes before we get LISA showing us, perhaps, the Cosmic Gravity Background! Or maybe we can leapfrog the Square Kilometre Array and instead build a SPA (a Square Parsec Array) in space! The engineers can do it!
‘Professional scientists who do not understand about 95% of their subject matter’
(and yet look how successful they, with engineers’ (and others) help, have been in enabling our civilization with the 5% they DO understand!)
A selection of BLACK HOLE related podcasts and other links
12 Oct 2016 BBC Discovery The discovery of gravitational waves by the LIGO observatory opens up a new form of astronomy, which will allow scientists explore the ultimate fate of dead stars, Black Holes. Roland Pease reports.
2 May 2019 Episode 151 of Space Nuts - *A very, very hungry black hole…*Where's Fred today?*A new theory about the creation of our Moon…*Listener questions...Stephen Hawkings Alien Warning, Spider silk in telescopes and a bit of a movie review on the sci-fi movie Gravity.
11 April 2019 In Episode 148 of Space Nuts - *A photo of a black hole at last...*Confirmation of Methane gas on Mars. So what does it mean?*A listener question from James Lancaster in Maine (USA) about Dark Matter. Fred has an answer
16 May 2019 *First possible Neutron Star – Black Hole Merger detected by LIGO Astronomers may have just detected their first case of a neutron star being devoured by a black hole. If confirmed, the long predicted but never before seen event on April 26 would be history making.
TIMC Xmas Special Science of Doctor Who (Black Hole powered TARDIS?)
Daniel and Jorge Explain The Universe
22 April 2021 Listener Qns Black Holes Dark Entropy