From the various excited scientific reports, I deduce that the black hole at the centre of the M87 galaxy poses no immediate threat to us on Earth. Sinceit's some 55 million light years away, there are no more visions of being sucked away into a bottomless pit. Pit No, that’s not possible, because a black hole has no bottom as far as we know. Also, it's out there in the universe, so it could well be Elysium, heaven, etc, therefore being the converse of the netherworld. Perhaps that is what it means when there is no space-time and all human constructs wither away, leaving you with, well, eternity.
When those beautiful 'golden doughnut' photographs of M87 black hole were released on Wednesday, the sheer do-ability of such a capture overwhelmed us. Apart from the fact that such a cosmic gobbler exists, that is. And not just one, but several thousand in our very own Milky Way, the one in its very centre being a massive black hole at least 30,000 light years away from our solar system. But so many questions are floating around, especially among non-scientists like me. In an interview for ET in 2008, I had asked astrophysicist Michio Kaku, who has played such a big role in popularising science, if smashing particles in a laboratory, like at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, would create black holes.
Black holes come in all sizes, replied Kaku. You have tigers and small domestic cats. They are both from the cat family. One is dangerous, the other is harmless. Similarly, you have big black holes the size of stars and you have subatomic small holes whose energy can barely light a bulb, which are totally harmless. In fact, Earth is being hit by such particles all the time, and nothing happens. Now, that was very reassuring. But Kaku added, If space is a fabric, then of course fabrics can have ripples, which we have now seen directly. But fabrics can also rip. Then the question is, what happens when the fabric of space and time is ripped by a black hole Gulp. That's not a very comforting thought, however fascinating it may be.
Frankly, I can't say I really understand what that means. Perhaps, inside a black hole there is another universe, one that we can't even conceptualise Who knows, if one manages to reach a black hole's 'event horizon' a region in space-time beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer, a kind of 'point of no return' and then 'disappear', maybe one would turn 'immortal', ethereal, attain Satori the Japanese Buddhist term for 'awakening', or total comprehension or, as Stephen Hawking theorised, that your 'information' may get 'smeared' on the event horizon as you fall in.
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