Perhaps you missed this important piece of news in your favorite newspaper (yes, Virginia, they still do exist), your favorite talking heads show on TV or the instant, micro-second news feed to your new Smartphone. If so, you may learn this here first. Astronomers at the University of Texas McDonald Observatory have just discovered the largest black hole in the Universe, located in a galaxy called NGC1277 (I like to call it Big Al) which is a mere 220 light-years from Earth, practically right around the corner in our space neighborhood.
Now, for those of you who are less familiar with deep space objects, black holes are the super vacuums of the universe. They are vast voids of nothingness with gravitational attractions so strong that not even light can escape their inertial force. They suck in everything in their neighborhood like a giant sinkhole in Florida. Of course their neighborhood is a bit larger than Tampa.
This black hole is massive. It has a mass 17 billion times larger than our own Sun, which is a somewhat puny star by galactic standards but still a pretty big puppy. Another way to look at it is the diameter of this black hole is 11 times larger than the orbit of Neptune around our Sun. How big is that? Well, the diameter of Neptune's orbit is approximately 5.4 billion miles (it takes 164 years for one revolution) so this black hole is over 59 billion miles wide. To put this in perspective, if you took all of the dollars in our national debt and laid those 17 TRILLION dollar bills end-to-end, it would easily fit inside this new black hole. In fact, we could increase our debt to over $ 623 TRILLION and it would tuck in very nicely, save a buck or two. So, never fear, boys and girls, it does not seem possible that even President Obama can spend enough to fill a black hole as large as this one, even though I am sure history will give him an "A" for effort. But, hey, I did not come here to bash our President (even though, God knows, he deserves it), but rather to make a point about science, as we know it, and the Great Scientist in the Sky.
New discoveries are being made every day about our Universe and its origins, current status, and, even its ultimate fate. We are discovering that, indeed, ours might not be the only universe out there. Scientists now theorize with growing certainty, there may be parallel universes surrounding our own and not just a few....the collective whole of which is referred to as a Multiverse. Imagine our Universe, with its hundreds of billions of galaxies and each galaxy filled with hundreds of billions of stars (and black holes) multiplied by billions. The theoretical total is unfathomable by most....even more so than the national debt. But there is One who not only understands it all but created it all.
Call him (or her) God. Call him Allah. Call him whatever your heart knows him as or don't call him anything. Just ask yourself this one question. How is it possible that all of Creation could be one unimaginable cosmic accident? In my mind, it isn't. On the next clear night you have where you live, step outside and look up to the heavens and think about it. Isn't it all unfolding as it should? I believe it is. And, it is one of the reasons, among many, why I believe in The Man with the Plan.