I have been fascinated for some time about the dense orbital race track of stars around the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. With an estimated million stars within a three light year radius, it is truly miraculous that the system can stay in balance without destroying everything. Certainly we see the influence of Divine design in placing our delicate telestial world out here in a spiral arm of the galaxy with no stars at all within a three light year distance. (“Mapping our Galaxy,” Galaxy Zoo, 2010, “The central parsec contains over a million stars; its density of stars is 10 million times that of the solar neighborhood. If we lived on a planet around a star near the galactic center, our night sky would be ablaze with stars as bright as the Moon!”) (“Everlasting burnings”? Joseph Smith, “King Follett Discourse”)
I have discussed in previous blogs the unprecedented event of what is believed to be a star that has fallen into a galactic center black hole and has been in the process of being shredded for almost the past year. It happened in a galaxy that is four billion light years away and therefore four billion years ago. It is believed that these events happen around galactic black holes every 100,000 to 100,000,000 years. The energy created is off the charts from a super long gamma ray burst. (“Was the Earth Placed in just the Right Location to Avoid Giant Galactic Cataclysms?”, November 10, 2011) Also of interest is an article just cited in the science section of news links from Meridian Magazine where intermediate sized black holes merge with larger ones as galaxies collide and merge.(“Supermassive Black Holes are Cannibals, New Research Suggests,” February 16, 2012)
A recent article in Scientific American has proposed that the smaller daily x-ray energy flare ups in the center of our galaxy may be caused by small asteroids that have been pulled away from their star system orbits and into the black hole accretion disk along with gas clouds being drawn into the black hole. (“Black Hole May Eat Asteroids,” February 14, 2012)
We look at earth’s history and believe that small asteroids may have caused mass extinctions on the earth in the past. And that is just the kinetic energy of a small body hitting another body at extreme speeds.
But what could happen if an asteroid’s mass was completely converted to energy (famous formula: E = mc2)? When an atomic bomb converts a small part of a few pounds of matter to energy, look at the amazing energy that is released. The “Fat Man” atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945 was equal to the energy in one gram of matter completely converted into energy—one-fifth teaspoon of water. (“Orders of Magnitude (Energy),” Wikipedia)
We can actually detect the flares of x-ray energy coming from the center of the galaxy on a daily basis using the Chandra x-ray observatory in earth orbit. This detection happened even though the galactic center is 27,000 light years away and separated from us by millions of stars and thick clouds of gas. It is thought that an asteroid of at least 10 kilometers in diameter could cause this tremendous atomic blast. Even though they come from small asteroids, once again these explosions are big enough that we would not want our fragile earth anywhere near them.
“Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” (D&C 88:47)