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.
Labels: saturn and moons