-There may be a connection between black holes and the Big Bang: the mass that disappears *into* a black hole may come out “the other side” as an explosion from a “white hole.” (The dude in the How the Universe Works episode that mentioned this said it like it was fact, but everything I’ve found only discusses it as a possible theory. I think the problem is that there’s no evidence of white hole existence, while there’s pretty convincing evidence of black holes. The possible Big Bang connection still interesting to consider, regardless.)
–Quasars are powered by black holes. The explanation from “How the Universe Works” (which, judging by the explanations I’ve found online, was at least a little simplified) was that a black hole sucks in gas, and eventually reaches the upper limit of how much gas it can suck in. (You like my technical jargon, don’t you? “Suck in” is the scientific name for this phenomena.) Then the gas explodes outward in a quasar. (Yeah, way simplified.) Then the quasar burns itself out, and the “galaxy settles down.” (What I don’t get is, the quasar burns out, the galaxy settles down, but the black hole is still there. So…does the black hole start working on another quasar? Or what? It’s still a black hole, and still sucking stuff in, right? So does the galaxy “settle down” only for a while?)
-Another thing I find interesting but confusing was some astrophysicist’s suggestion that our galaxy, the Milky Way, could exist *within* an event horizon. Which…kind of blows my mind, considering there’s a black hole at the center of the Milky Way, so we would have a black hole *within* a black hole. I guess it’s not really confusing, that’s not the right word. I get that it would be possible – the laws of physics don’t necessarily work inside a black hole, so why not have black holes within black holes within black holes and on into infinity. But thinking about it is kind of…It’s like the mental equivalent of those mirror mazes where you turn a corner and all of a sudden you’re facing an endless tunnel of reflections, you know. If I think about it too long, it actually starts to feel a little weird. But still fun.
Anyway, I’ve got to go program the DVR to record more of these shows. I think I’m about to become the Discovery Channel’s bitch. Also, now I totally want to quit my job and become an astrophysicist.