Essay Questions For Holes

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This talk is about dark matter and dark energy too, but I spend the first half of the presentation talking about black holes. By the effect that their immense gravity has on nearby objects.

For instance, as matter falls toward a black hole, the matter flattens into an orbiting disk.

At the distance of M87, this corresponds to 400 astronomical units (the astronomical unit, or AU, is the average distance between the earth and sun— roughly 150 million kilometers (93 million miles)).

That is, something that is 400 times larger than the earth’s orbital radius would show up.

The accretion disk was expected to be far larger than this, so it ought to show up in the radio image.

As it can be seen in the image, the accretion disk shows up as a ring.The mass of its black hole is about 7 billion times the mass of the sun.However, the problem with these accretion disks is that there is much matter in the cores of galaxies surrounding their supermassive black holes that interfere with light coming from the accretion disks.This technique is called very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI).While VLBI has been around for decades, very recent improvements in computer technology have made this sort of high resolution possible.But our black hole is much closer – 25,000 light years as opposed to 55 million light-years (about one two-thousandths the distance), so its accretion disk ought to be viewable.What does this all mean with regards to evolution/creation? I’ve found that many creationists are leery of black holes.Astronomers have been detecting black holes this way for a half century.This first photograph of a black hole wasn’t a photograph of a black hole, but rather the accretion disk around a black hole (since the matter in the orbiting disk is infalling, we call the disks around black holes “accretion disks”).Indeed, that has been the sort of question about black holes that I’ve been asked many times over the years: If we can’t see them, how do we know that they exist?The simple answer is that we generally believe in many things that we don’t see. While we can’t see these things, there is abundant evidence for their existence by the observable effect that they have on other things. I have a presentation that I give titled “Things that Go Bump in the Night” (also available as a DVD).

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