With sighs of tentative-delayed relief, let's turn from politics -- till the end of this post, when I'll propose how the new US administration could hold a huge, celebratory inauguration in a way that's win-win for us all.
== Wowzer goings on up there! ==
Fascinating recent claims that there may be a lot of stellar range black holes out there... perhaps enough to account for dark matter? If it's true, I'd have thought we'd see the effects on perturbed orbits of exoplanetary systems. But most discovered exoplanets so far are close to their primary. One test may be when we can statistically appraise Neptune-distance planets.
Of course then there's gravitational micro-lensing which would also have observable effects, if some of our NIAC projects bear fruit. This is checkable...
... and if it is true, it might mean that interstellar space is a minefield of MACHO objects, affecting the probabilities that interstellar colonization, even by probes, is even possible.
A strange Research Paper Claims There’s a Black Hole at the Center of the Earth - No, don't get all lathered. The singularities at the Earth's core that I posited as plot devices in EARTH seem almost plausible, compared to this stuff. (And my concept of gravity lasers - or gasers - has passed every test, so far!)
An avid and clever and obsessed photographer calculated where to set up… and caught the NG-14 Cygnus mission to the International Space Station passing in front of the Moon on October 2nd, 2020. ‘It's wonderful to see the visible shockwaves emanating outward from the engines, separate from the superheated exhaust plume.’
The unexpected dimming of the supergiant star Betelgeuse was most likely caused by an immense amount of hot material ejected into space, forming a dust cloud that blocked starlight coming from Betelgeuse's surface. So, not an imminent supernova after all. We think.
The star S62 whips around Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, at an extremely tight orbit. At its closest approach, it can travel faster than eight percent the speed of light, entering a regime where relativistic effects like time dilation become detectable, even at long range.
Strong evidence that a supernova went off not very far from Earth about 2.5 million years ago, possibly setting off the era of ice ages.
Along similar lines… Was the late Devonian extinction event caused by a nearby supernova that shredded Earth’s protective ozone layer and fried early land life and denizens of the sea surface for 100,000 years?
== Weirder space concepts ==
One possible candidate for “dark energy” may be compact analogues to black holes that are repulsive. “Back in the 1960s, physicists suggested that all that elusive dark energy could be hiding in ersatz black holes called Generic Objects of Dark Energy (GEODEs)… The only way that GEODEs could expand the universe without destroying everything around them is if they were isolated in empty pockets of the cosmos… “ New papers suggest that GEODEs gradually grow and start rotating so rapidly that they repel each other into those empty expanses, so GEODEs could explain universal expansion without conflicting other models of the universe.
== We are beings who can witness black hole mergers! ==
Seven billion years ago one black hole roughly 66 times the mass of our Sun, and another black hole roughly 85 times the mass of our Sun came close together, rapidly spinning around one another several times per second before eventually crashing together in a violent burst of energy that sent shockwaves now detected by our gravity wave observatories. And while it is fantastic we are a people who now can do such things as this, observing things like this… what stuns me above all is what it says about the sheer magnitude of this universe. I mean think of how short a time LIGO has been tuned well enough to spot such things… and we’ve spotted several. It means such collisions happened all the freaking time, while separated by distances unfathomable to human imagination. As Doug Adams said: The universe is big, possibly even the biggest.
That fine-tuning improvement campaign for gravity wave detectors has been prodigiously successful, allowing detections now more than weekly! "When you look at the catalog, there's one thing all events have in common: They come from mergers of compact objects such as black holes or neutron stars. But if you look more closely, they all are quite different," Frank Ohme, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany, said in a statement. "We're getting a richer picture of the population of gravitational-wave sources. The masses of these objects span a very wide mass range from about that of our sun to more than 90 times that, some of them are closer to Earth, some of them are very far away."
Princeton scientists Feinberg and Milekhin (what a name for a physicist!) have a paper suggesting human scale wormholes could exist and allow personally instantaneous travel over great distances almost instantaneously. Long ago (Schwarzchild) wormholes were largely abandoned by General Relativity (gravitation) physicists are likely impossibly microscopic or hard to maintain or survive. It’s the other wing - quantum theoreticians - who have rescued the concept in ways that are way outside my physicist practicing license! It involves negative energy which can happen in the quantum world.
Then how to make them macroscopic? Well, let’s start with a FIVE dimensional cow…. and these wormholes would resemble intermediately-sized, charged black holes that would generate similarly-powerful tidal forces that spacecraft would need to be wary of. (Sounding a lot like some speculations in my novel INFINITY’S SHORE!)
== Even weirder ==
A hypothesized alternative to Black Holes… a “Boson Star” would be compact and massive, but largely transparent. The most familiar bosons are photons, but also gluons, gravitons… the “particles” that mediate forces in the universe. They obey Bose-Einstein statistics letting them bunch together in total unison, as in a laser. The Fermions that make up matter include protons, neutrons, and electrons, which follow Fermi-Dirac statistics and insist on their own identity being preserved. (Pauli Exclusion.) Though electrons can collectively form boson-like clusters. Phew! So what if some kind of bosonic particles gathered together into a “star”? Would it be something like a compact, self-sustaining laser?
In EARTH I posited a Gravity Wave Laser or GASER or GAZER that could form in the core of our planet and then be manipulated by humans on the surface… and does that qualify as yet another prediction from that novel that came eerily somewhat true? Sigh, let’s not get excited. Boson stars are even more speculative than my Gazers!
In the nearer term, the forecast becoming ever more likely is the Helvetian War, alas.
== How to hold a BIG inaugural celebration safely and achieve a win-win-win-win! ==
Okay this is a science posting, but my idea for holding a fine, innovative inauguration of the new administration was so popular on FB -- and must be acted-on soon! -- that I will post it now for you blog readers.
New Chief of staff Ron Klain is planning for a minimized inaugural.
No! Big mistake!
Think this through:
(1) America and the whole world need a celebration on 1/20/2021! People will show up at the Capitol, no matter what. Vast vistas of flag-waving celebrants would do the nation good, especially in contrast to the recent past, but...
(2)... sure, we're in a pandemic and responsible distancing is essential.
(3) So? Everyone expects a change from tradition, so be creative!
(4) it is insane for Biden, Harris and Pelosi to be in the same place, given the kind of paranoic jabber spewing across the QAnonsphere.
And just as desperately timely is this advice to Pelosi and the House dems to pass half a dozen bills that are one or two sentences each, and DARE those Senate GOP candidates in Georgia to support or oppose them!
Like as if any of you are in a position to get their ears... alas.