Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hither and Yon


There's alotta weird stuff orbiting Saturn besides those magnificent rings. Shepard moons, Trojan moons, moons that switch orbits, moons with ice-geysers, spokes and scallops in the rings, mysterious hexegonal clouds.

And it turns out there may be a black hole orbiting it as well. I don't know whether to trust the veracity of someone called A Babe in the Universe, but she has enough blog cred to be included from time to time in the Carnival of Space, and seems to be an actual cosmological scientist. She certainly not one of the Art Bell crowd. And to her credit, she doesn't say there it is a black hole, simply that there is an anomaly. And that the anomaly may be a good place to look for one.



In a nutshell, there's a mysterious clump of charged particles pulling Saturn's electrical field all out of whack. That's fact, not theory; the Cassini probe spotted it. No one knows what it is. But one possible explanation is a black hole. The thing behaves the way a black hole would behave.

The Babe in the Universe has a Big Idea: there are black holes all over the place. Orbiting Saturn, in the center of stars, in the center of planets (including Earth), floating all over the universe hither and yon (maybe one at the bottom of your cup of coffee, or one in that hairball the cat just puked up). Because most black holes - again, according to the Babe - aren't the result of the gravitational collapse of stars, which is the conventional theory, but rather have been around literally since the beginning of time: primordial black holes, left over from the big bang. It's a very cool idea, and an explanation for where all that missing mass is. It's not accepted theory or anything. And I don't know enough about cosmology to know how plausible it actually is.

But is sure is fun to think about.

8 comments:

Jo said...

Fascinating post! I think I dated a black hole...I mean, he sure behaved like one. And I can see why that would lead a woman to believe they're all over the place...

It is a cool idea, for one thing, it would explain where all my socks go. But I guess I like the conventional theory--kind of poetic that when a star collapses, it becomes a bottomless pit of nihilism.

Mona Buonanotte said...

"a mysterious clump of charged particles"...I love the mystery in that! If it's not a black hole, maybe it's something else. Maybe all the static I've built up over the years, petting the kitty while she rolls on the floor.

Nancy Dancehall said...

Hell's footprints. *grin*

You bring out the religious fanatic in me. Keep up the good work.

Irrelephant said...

One of the things that keeps me going through my days is the sure and certain knowledge that We Don't Know It All. There are mysteries all the hell and gone over the place (yes, even in the bottom of my cuppa tea,) all we have to do is keep an eye open for them. I LOVE IT!

L. Riofrio said...

Thanks; I am glad that you enjoy the blog.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

So, are these dried up black holes? Tired of walking the streets, sucking up everything that comes along? Done putting on the red light?

Clowncar said...

A sock-specific black hole - cool idea, Jo. Maybe there's a designated hole for house keys too.

Or, Mona, maybe the mysterious clump is a spaceship and your kitty is an emissary, lulling you into passivity with her purring as she studies the human race for weakness and prepares for invasion.

Nancy, Black Holes are the Devil's Hairballs. Repent! Get thee behind me, Satan!

I think my favorite thing about astronomy, Irr, is that the more closely you look at stuff, the weirder it gets. Mystery is all.

Thanks, U-Babe, for visiting the site. Glad I got your ideas (mostly) right.

Maybe, E. Saturn could be the Boca Raton, Forida of the cosmos, where old, retired black holes go to play bingo and 8-dimensional shuffleboard.

Daisy said...

well, I thought I had such a witty little comment, about how there's a black hole in my head which is why I can't remember where my wallet is when it's time to take the kiddies to school in the am, and how there must be one in my dryer and that's where the sock mates go....

But y'all have been-there-done-that.

So I got nuthin' (though I am now staring suspiciously into the bottom of my coffee cup...)