Friday, June 14, 2019


Take a look. Messier 87 is a supermassive black hole. You could have observed it, if you used a small telescope sometime in May.   

So what is this black hole? Astrophysicists, (AstroP's), say: "It's a puncture in space-time. Think of space time as the  rubber surface of a trampoline, and a black hole as a bowling ball placed on that surface. The ball causes the fabric to sag, so that smaller objects fall into the hole." (Since black holes create bottomless pits, Astro Ps don't know where matter that falls into them winds up.)

How do black holes get formed? Astro Ps say when stars exhaust their fuel, the star's huge mass collapses. The star explodes in a new bright star. If the remnants are as massive as our sun, the star collapses with such force that nothing can stop it. It will swallow everything including light. 

The late physicist Stephen Hawking said, "It's like going over Niagara Falls in a canoe--if you are above the falls, you can get away if you paddle fast enough, but once you are over the edge, you are lost. There's no way back."

According to Astro Ps, there are billions of black holes. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains as many as 400 billion stars. That could mean 400 million black holes--about one star out of every thousand  can create a black hole after it dies. The Milky Way has a huge black hole called Sagittarius A, with "4 million times the sun's mass crammed into a space that is about 30 times the diameter of the sun."  I can't picture something that massive, but here's photos of Sagittarius A.   

So, what would happen if you fell into a black hole? Hawking said, "You would appear to slow down, and hover just outside. You would get dimmer and dimmer, and redder and redder, until you were effectively lost from sight. If you approached the black hole with your feet first, its gravity would pull harder on your shoes than your head, and you'd be stretched and shredded in a process that Astro Ps have dubbed "spaghettification."

At the University of London, Astro Ps are saying they need to invent new physics. Some think a black hole represents a shortcut to another region of our universe, and figure black holes lead to other universes. Others think the Big Bang that created our universe might represent a black hole from another universe. Hawking said, "This might be possible--the hole would need to be large, and if it was rotating, it might have a passage to another universe. But you couldn't come back to our universe. So, although I'm keen on spaceflight, I'm not going to try that."

Hadron Collider
Scientists at CERN (European Research group) are using the Large Hadron Collider which can speed up protons to almost the speed of light. When they collide, the energy produced could create microscopic black holes that would be evidence that our our universe is part of an infinite number of universes. That possibility has gotten theorists to warn CERN about creating micro black holes that could grow and swallow our planet, even our universe.  Other theorists say a micro black hole would be unstable and disintegrate immediately. 

Leading Astrophysicist Ethan Siegal says, "Fears about our planet being eaten by a black hole are completely irrational. The world is safe."

My blog's based on an article in The Week Magazine and sources I used to clarify words and concepts. I've decided, just now, that I'm not going to let myself wonder about all this anymore--Cern guys, theorists, and Astro Ps are going to be figuring it out. I enjoy standing on the roof of my house in New York City. There are no stars, just lights from other buildings and glittering flashes from the streets below that are interesting, actually quite fascinating to think about. 

Sunday, June 9, 2019


Jeff Koons' steel rabbit just sold for $ 91.1 million at Christies--it's the most money ever paid for art by a living artist. It's 3 feet tall, a blow-up was in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, 2007.
Jeff Koons' art works have been in major prestigious museums throughout the world--especially his popular "Balloon Dog;" about 12 feet tall, five versions--blue, magenta, yellow, orange, red.

Many galleries have also displayed Koons'  porcelain and gold "Michael Jackson" sculpture.

 'Made in Heaven' sculptures, anatomically unambiguous sculptures of Koons having sex with his first wife are--"Not pornography,." Koons says. "I'm interested in the spiritual, to be able to show people that they can have impact, to achieve their desires."
"Tulips," sold for a record-breaking  $58.4 million. Five unique versions. 80 inches x 180 x 205.

The 64-year-old artist, from York, Pennsylvania, is heralded by some critics as a pioneer. Others dismiss his work as 'kitsch.' New York Times article on Koons quoted art critic, who called Koons' art, "cat excrement." Koons' approach to art is evident at his huge studio in NYC. He employs 130 assistants, who use paint-by-the-numbers techniques to create the unique versions, reproductions exhibited, praised by major critics everywhere. Here's what Koons says about it.

Koons creative process and success says a lot about today's world and culture. "Igg" is my reaction to balloon dogs, tulips, and sex sculpture. Maybe his art is just not my cup of tea, or I'm  reacting to what I feel, and don't like about Koons' York, Pennsylvania mentality. It's prejudice based on my growing up years in Harrisburg, Pa., with kids like Jeff, perceiving from class reunion letters, what these kids aren't and ARE. For many of them, money is God, is status, the true measure of success -- the most important thing in life. I think Jeff Koons' art may be where art is heading. Artist Jeff Koons has created many, many stunning, astounding works over the years. If you haven't made up your mind about liking or disliking his art, click the link -- you'll enjoy this "Stop Hating Jeff Koons" article in the New York Times.