Yesterday we considered Felix Baumgartner and his strange, dysfunctional relationship with gravity, constantly challenging it to mess him up and regularly escaping from its clutches without injury.
Baumgartner’s latest attempt to give himself over to gravity and live to tell the tale is expected to happen this morning.
Meanwhile, in other gravitational news, we discover that the center of our Milky Way galaxy is dominated by a supermassive black hole which is pulling everything inward. The thing is so incredibly dense, when stars get too close even their light can’t escape.
Talk about dysfunction! Who could survive a relationship so completely confining?
That there is a Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way is an idea that has been supported by the research of UCLA scientist Andrea Ghez, who just last week identified a new star racing around the center at a breakneck pace.
This star, called SO-102, goes around the black hole once every 11 years. By comparison, our own sun also orbits the black hole – every 200 million years. Clearly this newly discovered star is a speedster, leaving us in the dust and going considerably faster than the next quickest orbiter, a star called SO-2 which makes the trip once every 16 years.
By watching these two stars, Ghez will be able to learn quite a bit about the characteristics about that massive invisible thing in the center of our galaxy – kind of like going to a NASCAR race and deducing everything about what’s happening in the infield by the speed and trajectory of the cars barreling by.
But ultimately, all this racing around in space ends the same way things wound up in Talladega two days ago.
Are you a good driver?