This is epic, breaking news. A matter of fact. Scientists from across the globe on April 10 pin-pointed and photographed the proverbial black hole (not the one, however, that ate your baseball card collection, homework, retainer, socks, etc.) where things go never to be found again.
These amorphous regions in space were only theoretical. The historic photographic images reveal the event horizon — the stars, dust and energy encircling the entrance to the cosmic black hole. These gravitational drains suck up time, space, light, matter … and all known physical laws. Where it all goes, nobody knows.
“… we have to admit that earthlings still aren’t equipped to understand the universe,” NYT science writers Joanna Klein and Dennis Overbye conclude, “everything we know about the universe could change if we could know for certain what happens to information inside a black hole.”
As with all things in the universe, this black hole is gigantic, the equivalent bulk of 6.5 billion suns. Besides this black hole from the M87 galaxy, there’s one for our own Milky Way galaxy and another 200 billion for each galaxy in the known universe.
WHAT’S BEEN FOUND AND LOST
Astral images possess agency, Priyamvada Natarajan, professor of astronomy and physics at Yale, explained in his NYT opinion piece; “They shift our view of the cosmos from the imagined to the reasoned and the real.”
Such transcendent images, “the first glimpse of what scientists have long been able only to theorize, calculate and simulate … have the potential to redefine the cosmos once again,” Natarajan surmised, “and prompt wonder and curiosity about our place in it.”
Until now the unobservable cosmic abyss was “marooned in the imagination,” according to NYT writer Overbye. This visceral reality check should cause us to reevaluate or at least give a second thought to our place in space. It has not, judging by the limited media attention.
Perhaps the cosmic discovery’s takeaway for preoccupied laypeople should be more metaphorical than scientific: Find some time to reconnect with what lies beyond your personal orbit.
* Artwork credit Symmetry Magazine by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova