November 9, 2010

"A gigantic belch from the black hole known to reside, like Jabba the Hutt, at the center of the Milky Way."

Something is happening at the center of the galaxy, and they don’t know what it is.


Freeman Hunt said...

Jabba the Hutt resides at the center of the Milky Way? The things you miss when you don't take astronomy in college.

David said...

It is the star gate, the magical entrance to parallel universes, and to all other universes, past and future.

Hey, why not?

Hagar said...

Wrong tense. If they can see it, it happened long ago.

campy said...

I'm not worried. Whatever it is, I'm sure Barack Obama can handle it.

Or at least blame Bush for it.

BigFire said...

The first thing that pop into my mind is Larry Niven's Known Universe, where supposedly the center of the galaxy is currently suffering a massive chain reaction explosion of super nova that should wipe out everyone in the galaxy in a couple of million years (Down in Flame notwithstanding).

John Burgess said...

Get your '2012' T-shirts here! Special reduction for Althouse readers.

Available in both flame-retardant and hyper-flammable versions. Choice of 36 colors*.

* Glow-in-the-dark ink not available for this product.

ricpic said...

Toin duh radio up, toin it WAY up!

Eeda dat or toin duh pan heat down, WAY down!

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Jabba the Hutt resides at the center of the Milky Way?"

Jabba The Hutt resides at the copy desk of the NY Times, where they are struggling to seem hip and with it by referencing something "spacy" from 25 years ago.

Fucking neo-maxi-zoom-dweebies.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Wrong tense."


The universe probably isn't even there anymore. We're only seeing what was there billions of years ago.

For all we know, our own star went Supernova five minutes ago but we won't realize it for another two minutes yet.

rhhardin said...

Anthropogenic gallactic climate change.

garage mahal said...

Like a gigantic pussy fart.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.


Big Mike said...

So we're a Seyfert galaxy. The only things that are important are (1) how big is the black hole, (2) how fast is it growing, and (3) when will it swallow our solar system?

traditionalguy said...

Isaiah 34:4 speaks to men of a day that "the heavens will melt away and disappear like a rolled up scroll and the stars shall fall away like dry leaves from the vine and like withered figs from the fig tree". Not that there is any reason to believe in God's ability to make predictions unless He is Eternal and knows all about His created art works.

Gabriel Hanna said...

A sad thing about studying the universe: learning about the millions of ways all life we know of could be totally destroyed without us having any idea that it was about to happen--much less being able to do anything about it.

As Heinlein said, the solar system is too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep its eggs in.

Icepick said...

BigFire, referencing Known Space makkrs you a nerd. Bringing up Down in Flames makes you an uber-nerd. Of course I got all those references, so I guess I'm a comrade in arms....

Fred4Pres said...

If those gamma rays head our way we are toast.

Lem said...

Wrong tense. If they can see it, it happened long ago.

Its happening in our own galaxy.. at light speeds the center is not that far out.

rhhardin said...

Our TV programs are safe. They're heading into space at a safe light speed.

Revenant said...

Not that there is any reason to believe in God's ability to make predictions unless He is Eternal and knows all about His created art works.

Well, I can't speak for who was the ultimate source of Isiah's prediction. But based on what we know today, he got it wrong. :)

John Lynch said...

Beowulf Schaffer.

AST said...

'Scuse me while I (urp) the sky."

I've been reading "Revelation Space" by Alistair Reynolds. One of the mysteries is the identity of an entity called Sun Stealer and what the "event" was that blasted all life on a planet called Resurgam.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

Gabriel Hanna said...


If those gamma rays head our way we are toast.

Thanks to the inverse square law, we'll hardly notice.

at light speeds the center is not that far out.

Fifty thousand years to travel from the center to the edge--I think it's pretty far. Not very far in terms of human history, though.

Revenant said...

Its happening in our own galaxy.. at light speeds the center is not that far out.

It is far enough away that what we're seeing now predates any recorded human history.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Big Fire, you too, eh?

I'm waiting for the Puppeteers to show up....and we need to start a Birth Lottery.

Lem said...

Destruct sequence is activated.

Lem said...

The emergency destruct system is now activated.

The option to override automatic detonation expires in t minus 5 minutes.

Michael Haz said...

Let's all just calm down and wait for Nobel Prize-winning scientist Al Gore to help us make some sense out of this.

Hagar said...

If they see it now, it happened about the time the first known cave paintings were made - 30,000 years ago. The Neanderthals still had another 10,000 years to live before going extinct.

shirley elizabeth said...

This stuff is pretty cool. I wish I understood more about what they're talking about.

Freeman Hunt said...

But how is it residing "like Jabba the Hutt?"

I know the writer meant to refer to the belching, but it doesn't read that way.

jr565 said...

There's something happening and you don't know what it is.... do you, Mr. Jones?

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Like a gigantic pussy fart.

Wow, they discovered your mothers queef or is it yours?

deborah said...

Beowulf Shaeffer...a blast from the future. :)

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Its happening in our own galaxy.. at light speeds the center is not that far out."

Hahahahaha. That's a good one.

C = 186,282 miles per second
1 Light Year = 6 TRILLION miles
G = 25,000 light years distance

Ergo, the center of the universe is 150 sextillion miles distant.

We could leave Earth on a journey towards it but we would never reach it since the Universe is expanding at close to the speed of light.

Even if we could travel fast enough it wouldn't matter since the center of the galaxy is already gone. We're only seeing what it looked like 25,000 light years ago.

That's a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Original Mike said...

Wrong tense. If they can see it, it happened long ago.

25,000 light-years is virtually nothing. Unlike the galaxies we see in deep space, some of which are billions of light years away, this is right next door and almost assurdly still there.

Bryan C said...

Anyone have Beowulf Shaeffer's number?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Fred4Pres said...

If those gamma rays head our way we are toast.

Doesn't the fact that we are seeing them mean that they not only headed this way, but have now arrived?

As far as us being toast, not so much.

Christoph said...

I'm going to tell you something that will be shocking to a lot of you, including you, Ann.

This is entirely easy to explain, but not using standard cosmology based on gravitation and Einsteinian special relativity.


They're wrong.

They're useful in their way, but they don't explain the following:

- The center of our galaxy (it isn't a black hole, which is an abstract mathematical concept and is in error ... the truth is much more mundane, but startling because it is new to you ... it also EXACTLY explains this observation we're discussing today)

- The Sun (it produces elements and has nuclear reactions in the 1-3 million degree corona ... but not in the core of the Sun, the surface of which is only 5,000 degrees ... think about that for a second ... how is the corona so much hotter than the Sun's surface? I won't get into experimental observations here about the type of neutrinos the Sun produces and so forth, but it all supports another theory, not the standard astronomical one)

- Neutron stars and pulsars (there is a much simpler explanation for pulsars than a theoretically constructed star composed of nothing but neutrons spinning rotationg more frequenly than a bloody dentist drill! which the laws of nuclear physics say would cause the "star" to fly apart anyway)

- The fact that quasars and galaxies have been observed that are linked together in near proximity, but have vastly different red shifts

- And even comets ... NASA is continually surprised by all of their experiments not producing the results they expect; good plasma physicists are not. Here's one little problem with them: They're rocky. Not balls of ice and dirty dust. Rock. With sharply carved features and appear to be electrically charged with very minimal water, even after slamming objects into them to measure their chemistry.

The theory is called plasma cosmology, was developed by a Nobel Prize winner (for magnetohydrodymics ... those of you who are Tom Clancy fans will recognize it as the basis of the Soviet "caterpillar" drive ... it is also used in much of mainstream physics and engineering now) named Hannes Alfven

Look, I linked to Wikipedia for a biography of Alfven, but don't think you can understand plasma cosmology by reading Wikipedia. It is heavily censored. Here is an OLD Wikipedia article on plasma cosmology that is decent: is a November,20, 2006 version of the Wikipedia article on Plasma Cosmology, which was subsequently heavily censored.

You can find much more at I don't agree with all of the information at holoscience, but the treatment of and explanation for comets in particular is spectacular.

This ISN'T some Creationist nonsense. I am not a Creationist nor religious in the slightest. This is an alternative physics model that explains why galaxies have the rotation, momentum, and spiral shape they do WITHOUT having to invent such things as "dark matter" (and when that wasn't enough, later "dark energy") to explain this. Both of which have never been found, not even at CERN, despite lots of trying. Why? They do not exist.

Christoph said...

Ben Franklin was on the right track. That track is electricity and plasma (lightning being a plasma phenomena).

Look, this spontaneous excited comment isn't structured for effect. It's stream of consciousness, baby, all the way. Columbia was (very sadly) taken down by high atmospheric lightning. Who didn't think there was such a thing once upon a time? Mainstream scientists. Why knew their had to be? Plasma physicists. High atmospheric lightning discharges electrical energy into space as the Earth picks it up on its slightly eliptical orbit.

Plasma, incidetally, makes up about 99 percent of the visible matter in the universe. We're not familiar with it on Earth, but in space, matter broken down at least partially (but still acting as a plasma) into ions and electrons is the norm.

You ever wonder why comets tails appear for generations of humanity and don't run out? They're not water. They're plasma discharge. And the only difference between asteroids and comets is comets have hugely elongated eliptical orbits and orbit in areas of vastly differing electric potential (voltage) whether near or far from the Sun.

This will all seem shocking and kind of crazy to you, but it has an advantage: It predicts pretty much all the things standard cosmology tries to, but can't, without inventing more and more fudge factors. And it does so using simple, easy to understand physics, not mind-bending concepts based on mathematics.

What about the northern lights? Who didn't predict that? Oh, that would be everyone in mainstream science. Who both predicted it and that it's caused by electro-magnetic effects from the Sun? Your frienly neighbourhood plasma physicist and polar explorer, Kristian Birkeland.

There's more of course. Much, much more.

This is worth your time, Ann. I promise. I invite you to check it out.


P.S. BECAUSE OF NASA's terrible record at predicting anything to do with comets other than their orbit, and the fact all the recent comet probes have shown nothing like the predicted behaviour when NASA actually sent colliders into comets, they invited Dr. Donald E. Scott to give a presentation at NASA Goddard earlier this year. NASA, unlike standard model cosmologists with their mathematic equations (which when they don't work, which is often, they just add things like dark energy and matter to make them work), comes up against hard data. And the data doesn't match predictions (except of certain plasma physicsts, where it EXACTLY matches predictions).

P.P.S. Most of our universe is missing. Standard cosmologists say, "Dark matter, dark energy, they HAVE to be there or the galaxies would fly apart." Plasma physicists say, "Our model predicts not only the coherence but the spiral shape and angular momentum of the galaxies exactly, no exotic forms of energy needed."