Black and White - Holes of a Different Color
This week, my column is going to be diving into stuff I really don’t know much about. I’m not feeling too inferior though. No one knows much about this topic, even people who are deemed experts are really just scratching the surface. So, you can roll your eyes and shake your head at some of the things I’m going to say, but it won’t rattle me in the slightest – and not just because I can’t see you on the other side of your computer or phone screen.
On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, scientists working at the Event Horizon Telescope released the first-ever photographic evidence of the previously only theorized deep space object known as a black hole. A black hole is the remains of a collapsed star. Its mass and associated gravitational pull are so immense that nothing, not even light, can escape. It’s hard to imagine. It boggles the mind. It’s so difficult to grasp that scientists around the world argued about the possibility that such a thing could even exist – until that day in April.
So where is this big honking telescope, you ask? The answer is that it’s all over the place. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is actually a network of radio telescopes placed in strategic locations all over the world. They work together, collecting data from places so far away that the images they gather started their journey to us millions of years ago.
The black hole photograph assembled by the data from the EHT depicts an object fifty-five million light years distant. That’s right - fifty-five million light years. The light in the picture you see at the top of this article started out fifty-five million years ago. The object itself is at the center of a neighboring galaxy called M37 and has a mass over six and a half billion times that of the star we call the Sun, yet the object itself takes up practically no space. What becomes visible is the area called the event horizon, the point of no return for anything unlucky enough to venture close to a black hole.
When you think about all of this, it’s easy to see why the plausibility of something like a black hole has been the subject of debate for so long. Now that we have a picture, it’s kind of hard to deny that black holes are indeed real. We’ve been able to detect the effects of black holes for years, but without direct evidence, there was always some doubt. One photograph, which took two years to process from data gathered by a telescope the size of a planet, removes that doubt.
So, what’s next?
Switch the gears of your brain for a moment and think about the absolute opposite of a black hole. Theoretically, such an object might exist in the form of a white hole. While nothing can escape a black hole’s event horizon, nothing can enter the event horizon of a white hole. The white hole has mass and gravitational force, but nothing gets in.
To be clear, the dominant opinion among scientists today is that white holes cannot and do not exist. The concept is purely theoretical – but that’s what we used to say about black holes. Emerging thought in the field of quantum physics is starting to challenge disbelief in white holes. They may indeed exist. If they do, what the heck are they?
Some scientists think they may be the “other end”, so to speak, of black holes. All of that matter pouring into a black hole has to go somewhere, right? The black hole is already collapsed down into the absolute smallest size it can possibly be. There’s no more room for new stuff. Maybe it’s pouring out of the other end of a wormhole defined by a black hole/white hole pair. Maybe the other end of this tunnel is at a different place in time and space. Maybe something truly strange happens at the singular point in space that defines the center of a black hole. Maybe there’s a kind of “bounce” that reflects all of the incoming matter doomed by the grip of the black hole into another direction – or even another point in time. We don’t know. We have no rules to apply to be sure. We have no pictures, yet.
This article was written by Tilmer Wright, Jr. Tilmer is an IT professional with over thirty years of experience wrestling with technology and a proud member of the Authors Guild of Tennessee. In his spare time, he writes books. His second novel, The Bit Dance is a cautionary tale about what can happen when technology runs away from its creators. You can find links to Tilmer’s books at the following location.
His author information web site is here: http://www.tilmerwrightjr.com/
The City of Plainview hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the Grand Opening of the Dollar General Store at 1900 Tazewell Pike. Mayor Gary Chandler welcomed the crowd and thanked all who made this day possible. Mayor Chandler stated that Plainview is a growing community of caring individuals and that the city will continue to strive to “meet the needs of our citizens”.
Summer is in full swing at the Union County Farmers Market. The market is located in Wilson Park and open on Saturdays from 10am – 1pm. Our new Saturday hours allow our farmers to harvest early on Saturday morning bringing you the freshest possible produce. We hope the later hours will also encourage you to take advantage of the food trucks that are joining us! Enjoy a snack, breakfast or lunch.
A few days ago I had just risen from my chair to go to the great room for a cup of coffee. I really stood up and took notice, stopping dead in my tracks. There came a sudden crack of lightning with a deafening roar of thunder. All at the same time. That was not only close, it had to be right on top of us. My immediate worry was if there was any damage.
Being old has its disadvantages, but something I’m glad it allowed me to witness (at age 15) was the first moon landing and walk that occurred 50 years ago this month. It was one of those moments you remember exactly. In my case it was at my boyhood home in Middlesboro, Kentucky at 10:30 on a Sunday night. Me and my dad (mom was out of town) sat there watching a small black and white television totally mesmerized as these two guys walking around on another world. I remember lots of goosebumps and feeling so happy (I was a bona fide science geek by then).
I have always liked red table grapes, but have previously looked in vain for a way to cook them. A few years ago our church group took a trip up to Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. While there, we had lunch at their tearoom. Grape Salad was on the menu. It was delicious and new to all of us. We asked for the recipe. The one they gave us didn't turn out at all like the tasty salad we had there. Don't you hate that? When someone gives you a recipe and its not quite like their dish.
Enthusiasts from around the world traveled to spectate the picturesque landscapes of unique blooms at the Twentieth Annual Oakes Daylily Bloom Festival on Friday and Saturday June 28 and 29. The weather was usual for East Tennessee’s late June days, very hot and muggy, but the temperatures did not slow down the masses of guests attending.
On June 29, Main Street exploded with color. Union County Platinum Athletics hosted a Paint Party to youths and families of the community. The children, as well as the children at heart, excessively enjoyed a paint slip-n-slide, shaving cream twister, canvas painting with squirt bottles, water balloon fight, and an over the top paint war. The paint war is exactly that, a war, everyone throws powder paint at everyone who came for a fun mess of a time, creating a beautiful, colorful rainbow mess.
At the Union County Historical Society Meeting on Sunday, July 21, at 2:30 at the UC Museum, Bill Landry of Heartland Series fame will share stories from his new book, WHEN the WEST was TENNESSEE. Lisa Oakley will relate information on the East Tennessee History Center's new exhibit, “Mountain Dew”.
A class for Tennessee's divorcing parents. Held in Union County on the last Monday each month. Preregistration required at 865-992-8038 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Moore about the program at https://extension.tennessee.edu/Union/Pages/FCS-Co-Parenting.aspx
Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun! Children can compete in fun contests like "corniest joke," "fastest corn eater," and "fastest corn shucking." There will be door prizes and live music. Local vendors may sell corn products at no cost to them. In addition to corn-related shopping, local produce and craft vendors will be at the farmers market. There will be games, history exhibits, and fun demonstrations for everyone. We'll see you there!
This will be a simple self serve buffet. It will include Buttered Grits (cheese optional), Fresh- Baked Banana Muffins, Toast with homemade Strawberry and Fig Preserves, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Quiche Florentine. We will serve Orange Juice, Milk, Tea, and Coffee to drink.
Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Jr.-age 46 of Knoxville passed away Thursday, July 11, 2019 at his home following a brief battle with cancer. He was a member of Fairview Baptist Church, Luttrell. Preceded in death by father, Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Sr.; mother, Joyce Bailey Cline; grandparents, Frank and Mary Bailey; granddaughter, Riley Hubbs.
Reverend Luther Vineyard Cox – age 93 of Maynardville, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 peacefully at home with his family by his side. He was a lifelong member and former pastor of Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Luther was retired from Dempster Brothers and was a United States Army Veteran serving in World II.
Lowell Edward George, Sr., age 81 of Knoxville went home to be with the Lord on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 11:05 am with his family surrounding him. He was a longtime member of Central Baptist Church, Fountain City and lifelong resident of Knoxville. He was greatly loved by his family and all who knew him and was a father figure to many. Lowell is preceded in death by mother and father Eva and Tom Newberry.
Samuel “Sam” E. Hampton, age 70, formerly of Beckley, WV, passed away peacefully at home in Knoxville, TN on Thursday, July 4, 2019. He loved football and was an avid fan of the Cleveland Browns. He was also a lover of animals.
Survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharron Hampton and daughter Jennifer and her husband John Morris.
A service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with Minister Brad Hood officiating.
Clarence Henegar, age 85, lifelong resident of Knoxville, went to be with the Lord on July 3, 2019. He was a member of Salem Baptist Church for 50 years, and served as a deacon for 40 years. He was a graduate of Central High School, and went on to graduate from Cooper Institute. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 32 years of service. In his younger years he enjoyed bowling, and was an avid golfer. He was very well known in the dancing community. As a young man he enjoyed square dancing, and in later years, ballroom and country dancing.
Donald L. Fowler, age 80, of Knoxville passed away Tuesday, July 2, 2019. He enjoyed spending time with his family and eating out. He is preceded in death by wife of 26 years Carol Fowler, parents; Hugh & Hester Fowler, brothers; Albert, Billy, Glenn and James, and by dog Peanut. He is survived by son Keith Fowler, brother Wilbur Fowler of Springfield, Tennessee and many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends from 2:00pm-4:00pm on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at Grove Heights Baptist Church (818 Frank Street Knoxville, TN). A service will follow at 4:00pm with Rev.
Lois Ann Lee – age 67 of Maynardville, went to be with the Lord on July 2, 2019.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Lee; parents, Clarence and Dorothy Effler; sister, Linda Sexton; brothers, Bobby and Charlie Effler. Lois is survived by her daughter, Sheila (Kenneth) Lawler; son, Bobby (Tammy) Tharp; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; sisters, Emma (Bill) Collins, Karen (Randy) Chamberlain and Gerri (Mark) Ford; brother, Sandy (Peggy) Effler; and a host of loving nieces and nephews and other family members.
Mickie D. Faulkner-age 43 of Corryton passed away Tuesday morning, July 2, 2019 at her home with her family by her side. She was a member of True Life Ministries Church. She was a loving and selfless person who loved to make others smile and be happy. She was preceded in death by father, George Lee Poindexter; mother, Anna B. Collins; sister, Lisa Poindexter.
Gene Autrey Ford – age 75 of Luttrell, passed away Thursday, June 27, 2019. He was a member of Piney Grove Baptist Church, Karns. Gene was a military veteran and a retired electrician, IBEW Local 760.