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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Symphony of Science: Black Holes

By Phil Plait

Black holes are intrinsically cool.

Donât believe me? You should. As evidence, here are two random things about black holes:

1) In the center of every big galaxy lies a supermassive black hole. Our Milky Way has one, four million times more massive than our Sun.

2) Not only that, but there are tens of millions or possibly billions of smaller black holes wandering the galaxy! Never fear, though: The odds of one getting close enough to Earth to do us any harm are so small that the Universe could be a thousand times its current age, a million times, and weâd still never get close to one.

But just knowing theyâre out thereâ¦yikes. And see? Thatâs cool. Thereâs something fascinating and forbidding and compelling about black holes. Theyâre weird, they defy our everyday logic, theyâre the ultimate endpoints of matter.

But theyâre fun, too, which is why Iâm so happy to see them as the topic of the latest Symphony of Scienceâmusic videos using autotuned scientists. This one is called  âMonsters of the Cosmosâ:

Youâll see a lot of familiar faces in there. I was pleased to see my old friend Brian McNamara (in the blue shirt, first appearing at the 1:38 mark) there, too. We were in grad school together at UVa, and that video is (I believe) actually from a PBS show called âMonster of the Milky Wayâ, which I worked on a bit a few years back (the show was funded in part by a NASA mission I was involved with). So that was fun to see him again.

Iâm a big fan of the Symphony of Science series, too. Heck, Iâm in one. But theyâre all pretty good, and well worth your time to watch. You can find them all on melodysheepâs YouTube channel.

And if you want to learn more about black holes, hereâs something for you: an article I wrote called Ten Things You Donât Know About Black Holes. How many did you not know?

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