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NASA Has a Head's Up for Us: A 'Runaway' Black Hole is Tearing Through the Universe

All About Space Magazine. Getty Images.

The Black Hole. What can we say about that hasn't been said ad nauseum on every single cable show that talks about astrophysics. It is to real science programming what "Hitler was into the occult" is to history shows and Gen-Zers running around in an abandoned insane asylum yelling "Did you hear that?!?" is to paranormal TV.

From Neil DeGrasse Tyson to Michio Kaku to every TV scientist in between can't finish a sentence without mentioning how Black Holes are collapsed stars, their gravitational pull is so powerful even light can't escape, and how all the laws of space and time break down at their event horizon, yadda yadda yadda. We know it's all true. And super important. But there's a lot else going on in the vast expanse of the cosmos. Come up with a new schtick already. We've heard this song before. 

That said, they could mention this other little tidbit. Like one one of these things is in the process of eating the fabric of existence:

Source - NASA has warned that there's an 'invisible monster on the loose', in the form of a 'runaway' black hole.

The supermassive black hole is barrelling through the universe so quickly that if it were in our solar system, it could travel the 237,674-mile journey from Earth to the Moon in just 14 minutes.

Weighing as much as 20million suns, it has left a trail of stars in its wake, measuring 200,000-light-years – twice the diameter of the Milky Way. Scientists outlined the findings for the possible black hole in a study led by Yale University. …

Hubble's images show that the black hole lies at one end of a column, which stretches back to its parent galaxy.

The outermost tip of this column contains a 'remarkably bright knot of ionised oxygen', which the researcher suggest is probably the result of heat from the motion of the black hole.

'Gas in front of it gets shocked because of this supersonic, very high-velocity impact of the black hole moving through the gas,' Professor [Pieter] van Dokkum added.

'How it works exactly is not really known.'

With all due respect to the aforementioned TV scientists, as much as I like a good thought experiment about what would happen if one twin went into a Black Hole and the other stayed just outside it, shouldn't this be the thing we're looking into? Sure it's great to look at pretty Hubble pictures of nebula clouds and notice how sometimes they're shaped like seahorses or whatever. But while we're nattering on about such nonsense, there's a Black Hole the size of 20 MILLION SUNS, shitting out a trail of suns TWICE THE DIAMETER OF THE MILKY WAY. And we don't know how it works. 

I don't know. Call me crazy. Or just overly cautious. But a massive void traveling through the universe gobbling up star systems like a gigantic cosmic Pac-Man ought to be our top priority. Maybe we're all just fly specs and the universe is indifferent to us. But since this is the biggest threat to existence itself, I'd just like us to know a little bit about the drain we're all going to be swirling. 

For instance, can we do anything about it? Is there a way to plug the hole? Or nuke it? Can we send someone to destroy it, like the Avengers, or a band of wildcat oil drillers who are behind on their taxes. Maybe we can send someone in to see if we'll just come out the other side, like a coin you swallowed. Or, at the very least, can we throw out trash into it like in that "Treehouse of Horror" episode?

Since this is the ultimate threat to everything that does or ever will exist, I guess I'd just appreciate it a little if NASA would focus their attention on it just a bit. Solve this riddle, and then we can go back to sending teams up into low Earth orbit and denying the existence of UFOs, like before. 

Until then, Happy Easter, everyone. It's been nice knowing you.