'Runaway' black hole the of 20 million suns found speeding through space with a trail of newborn stars behind it

Page 2 - For the science geek in everyone, Live Science breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet.
Mar 1, 2023
Whoever doubts science is an imbecile.
'Doubting' is not the same as 'denying'. Doubting, and checking results and hypotheses is how new scientific discoveries are made. There's always another layer, more detail, and new horizons to be discovered.
You can doubt someone's scientific methods and/or conclusions. This does not equate to doubting 'science'.
Mar 1, 2023
These dense idiots are science fiction's own little fan boys and religious zealots. They actually read something as stupid as this ridiculous fantasy land garbage, and not only do they believe it, they literally bust n*ts off this bullcrap!
Well actually, those of us who don't have closed minds look at this and think "God is great, this is a terrific bit of cosmic engineering. Glad we now have tools that can be used to detect and follow up things like this."
Feb 22, 2023
Well actually, those of us who don't have closed minds look at this and think "God is great, this is a terrific bit of cosmic engineering. Glad we now have tools that can be used to detect and follow up things like this."
Well if u know anything about God and what he created u would know that he did not create anything this story is saying. When God first created everything he tells everyone what is out there. Hence when he created the firmament to separate the water from above as below. Then when he created the stars there was 2 types he created the fixed stars which are in the firmament hence if u point a time lapse camera up at the sky u will see that the fixed stars go around in a circle and the fixed stars that make constellations those constellations always end up back to the same exact spot they did the night before and the night before all the way back to the first night he made them. Besides the fixed stars he also created the wondering stars. There's no mentioning of black holes white Dwarfs or even other planets cuz the other planets are also stars they are non terra firma places. Everyone deceiving everyone will have to face their judgment day and will have to answer to why u let urself get deceived and then why u decieved others.
Feb 22, 2023
Astronomers have discovered a "runaway" black hole, potentially the first observational evidence that supermassive black holes can be ejected from their host galaxies.

'Runaway' black hole the of 20 million suns found speeding through space with a trail of newborn stars behind it : Read more
If I am not mistaken: this supports the "Falling Stars" theory (where their falling is not randomized; but a blackhole is sub-heavy or too-extreme! another dynamic to fall rather than "Centralize"? Perhaps so cold, which; with heat-trails (I've wondered: "If from nothing; something" (as a theory of "'Formation'"(?)) from the principals of warming and cooling) blackholes veer toward coalescion..!? (Not sure anylonger if 'Stars' are falling...)
Those who doubt science are imbeciles? Is it possible reconcile science with other beliefs, even if they are religious in nature or based on religious teachings?

Black holes and God?

As black holes gravitationally draw matter toward their event horizons, a high proportion of this matter is converted into energy. Radiation from this conversion process is deadly for advanced life. The apparent incompatibility of black holes with advanced life raises a problem for Christians and other theists who believe that God planned the rise of advanced life on Earth. Yet additional scientific data may help to resolve this apparent problem. This article argues that a universe with the mass and laws and constants of physics to make advanced life possible will inevitably produce black holes, and this is good news. When the most massive stars and merging neutron stars become black holes, they manufacture elements heavier than iron. Eight of these r-process elements appear essential for advanced life; the remainder appear essential for enduring life and for advanced civilization. Moreover, though black holes produce deadly radiation in all known regions of the universe where advanced life is conceivable, our solar system is protected from this deadly radiation. By apparent fine-tuning, we live in a uniquely safe and uniquely provisioned location. These scientific findings suggest a way that theists can reconcile the existence of black holes with the existence of a Creator.

A very interesting and unique topic.

The theory of the universe that we have—the theory that said black holes should exist before anyone knew to even think about them—is predicated on the idea that our universe ought to be understandable. It ought to be coherent. It ought to be the same out in the distant reaches of the universe as it is here.

That points to the Creator. That tells us something about the Creator.

Look at how we get to black holes in the first place. Albert Einstein, back in 1915, recognized that as you move through the universe, from big stuff to small stuff and very fast stuff to very slow stuff, the laws of physics seemed to change. The way electromagnetism behaved was different from the way gravity behaved, and Einstein looked at that and said that doesn’t make sense. The laws of physics ought to be the same no matter how you look at them.

It was that philosophical idea that led him to develop his general theory of relativity. And if general relativity is right, then there should be these things called black holes.

The insight or genius of general relatively is that space and time, instead of being abstractions or kind of empty spaces, are now understood as these dynamic quantities. As energy moves through space and time, it actually warps space and time, and they could become so warped that they would rupture. If you get a star that’s massive enough, the gravitational pull is so strong that it collapses on itself and that’s a black hole. So people started thinking about black holes theoretically and eventually found evidence. We even found that in the center of our galaxy there is this massive black hole.

The connection here is that when we look at creation, we expect to see an orderly, coherent creation. For Einstein, it is a philosophical idea that ultimately derives from the notion that there is a unified order. And that’s what you would expect if there is a God who created it.

My basic understanding is that a black hole is a very dense star, a collapsed star, with a gravitational pull so powerful that even light, instead of just shining past, is locked into an orbit. How does that happen?

Take something like the earth. The earth is round because of gravity. Gravity wants to pull everything to the center, so it pulls all the atoms it can reach inward, but the atoms are all negatively charged, so when the atoms get close enough together, the electrons on those atoms repel one another. Gravity pulls them, but electromagnetic force pushes out.

Now imagine we added more mass. It gets a little bigger. But add more and more mass; eventually the gravitational pull would get strong enough it would overcome that electromagnetic force and pull those atoms closer together. That’s a white dwarf.

Now if you keep adding mass, it will get more gravitational attraction. And eventually you overcome the Pauli exclusion principle that says two electrons can’t exist in the same place; you’re going to push all the electrons into the protons to make neutrons. It’s going to collapse further until you’re pushing neutrons together, and that a neutron star.

If you continue to add matter, eventually what will happen is it will collapse down to where all of the mass is concentrated into a point, and there you have a black hole.

Essentially, keep adding mass until there’s nothing that can keep it from collapsing—until there’s no volume—and all of the mass is concentrated into this point and the gravitational pull is so strong that even light can’t escape. That’s the recipe for making a black hole.

Sometimes when people talk about black holes, there’s a kind of reverence. It goes even beyond awe. Why do you think that is?

Black holes are beyond what I could fathom, so far beyond what I could even comprehend experiencing. We’re confronted in a small way with what it would be like to experience something infinitely bigger than us.

When I stand here on the surface of the earth, the gravitational pull on my feet is a little bit larger than the gravitational pull on my head, but it’s no big deal. But if I were falling feet first into a black hole, the gravitational pull on my feet would become so much larger than what’s on my head that it will actually rip every atom apart and the atoms will spiral into the black hole.

If Christianity is correct, one of the things that is true is that we as humans are designed to worship. And when you see things like black holes that are so much bigger and more powerful than us, it’s a very natural response to be moved to worship.

A lot of people are fascinated by black holes because they’re these weird objects in the universe. But they also present problems for scientists. Why do scientists have to grapple with black holes?

General relativity is an incredibly successful theory. It has passed every experimental test we’ve thrown at it. Quantum mechanics is the same. It’s incredibly good at describing the universe. But when it comes to black holes, they’re giving us different answers. So we need to dig deeper.

Quantum mechanics says that information cannot be destroyed. But general relatively says that a black hole can only have three properties: mass, charge, and spin. It’s just the nature of the way black holes work, those are the only three properties.

Say you have a star that is made out of pumpkin pie and you’ve got a star that is made up of hydrogen. If they each collapse and form a black hole, and they both reduce to mass, spin, and charge, then they’re going to look identical. Does that mean you’ve lost all the information that could tell you that one was originally made out of hydrogen and the other pumpkin pie?

Stephen Hawking identified this as a big problem in the 1970s. The way we’re looking at black holes, all this information is getting destroyed, and a fundamental rule of quantum mechanics is you can’t destroy information. That information has to be somewhere.

This is where we get the idea of Hawking radiation as a potential solution to this problem.

There was recently a new discovery—I’m not sure whether to call it a discovery or an argument—about Hawking radiation. Can you tell us about that?

There are multiple solutions that have been proposed, but this is a novel one. It’s another idea for how Hawking radiation could work. In this study, the scientists are saying a mechanism called “quantum hair” could explain how the information inside the black hole is connected to the radiation in the quantum state outside the horizon of the gravitational field.

Basically, if the gravity gives off bits of information—if the information could be encoded in the gravitation, then it could be radiated off—and not lost in the black hole. Theoretically, in principle, it seems that the information is there to extract. Because of the way gravity is quantized, it’s giving off information about the black hole.

If that’s right, that leads to a new level of complexity. It would allow us to reconcile this discrepancy in what we know now, and we’d be able to explain it, but then it has implications for how things work, and that will open up a whole new set of questions.

Historically, physicists have sometimes talked like they’re almost done. Like we’re just about to have a complete picture of the physical structure of the universe and there will be nothing more to know. And Christians who promote God of the gaps” theories try to hurry that process along. But it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be finished with physics very soon.

Every time we solve one of these big questions and put the answer out there, we run into a whole new set of questions that we didn’t know existed!

Compare our understanding of the universe now to when Isaac Newton was talking about his theory of gravity. We know so much more about what’s going on than we did back then. But there are also so many more questions that we don’t have answers to.

It’s almost like, the more we learn, the more we realize how much more there is to learn. You can start to see that we will never exhaust this. We’re going to be able to study creation forever. There will be new questions that we haven’t even thought to ask.

And this, again, points to the Creator. That’s where I see a connection to theology. Because that same thing is true about studying God’s revelation and Scripture and God. We’ve got a lot of the big picture in place, but there are also new questions and we will never be done. We will never exhaust the subject. That moves me personally to awe and to want to worship.

See: https://www.christianitytoday.com/c...g-radiation-quantum-gravity-god-theology.html

Given the basics of gravity, we know that the greater the black hole’s mass, the farther from its center this event horizon will extend. Extreme risk lies just outside this zone. Based on what we know from Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, a large fraction of any gas, dust, debris, asteroid, planet, or star that approaches a black hole’s event horizon will be converted into energy. A rapidly rotating black hole, as most black holes and especially the more massive ones are, will convert up to 42 percent of nearby matter (matter just outside the event horizon) into energy. Even a nonrotating black hole will convert 5.7 percent of any nearby body (or mass) into energy (McClintock and Remillard 2004). Thus, black holes in the process of accreting matter rank as the deadliest objects in the universe.

In the region just outside their event horizon, black holes convert matter into energy with far greater efficiency than does the Sun’s nuclear furnace—anywhere from 100 to nearly 600 times greater. This extremely high conversion rate of matter into energy explains why the zone just outside the event horizon of the most massive black holes is both the brightest and most dangerous (to any form of life) location known to exist in the universe. Even the smallest known black holes, those with a mass only a few times greater than the Sun’s, if they are accreting matter, generate radiation that would make advanced life as we know it impossible anywhere within their vicinity. In spite of this, we would not be here to observe and study black holes were it not for their existence (more on this point later).

Discovery of the energy levels within and around black holes enabled astronomers to unravel a deep mystery concerning cosmic radiation. The deadliest cosmic rays observed on Earth are ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs). The energy level of these UHECRs (Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays) exceeds 5.7 × 1019 electron volts (eV) for protons and 2.8 × 1021 eV for iron nuclei. The most energetic cosmic ray detected to date exhibited a kinetic energy equal to 3.2 × 1020electron volts (Bird et al. 1995), roughly the energy of a baseball moving at 100 kph (60 mph) packed into a single particle. This energy level is about 30 million times greater than the highest particle energy achieved by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and several trillion times greater than the cosmic rays that commonly strike Earth.

When astronomers discovered UHECRs in 1962 (Linsley 1963), the source of these rays mystified them. They knew that UHECRs must originate somewhere beyond our Milky Way galaxy. The strength of our galaxy’s magnetic field is insufficient to confine them, much less to accelerate them to such extremely high energy levels (Pierre Auger Collaboration 2017). Furthermore, the directions from which UHECRs arrive is consistent with an extragalactic origin (Pierre Auger Collaboration 2018).

A breakthrough came in 2019, when five Korean astronomers reported on their analysis of five years’ observational data from the Telescope Array in Utah. According to the research of these astronomers, UHECRs are arriving from a hot spot centered in the Virgo cluster (Kim et al. 2019). The team detected “filaments of galaxies [threadlike structures of galaxies and connecting gas streams] connected to the Virgo cluster around the hotspot” (Kim et al. 2019). Specifically, they and other Korean astronomers found six of these filaments infalling toward the core of the Virgo cluster and, thus, dynamically connected to it (Kim et al. 2016, 2019).

The research team deduced from their studies of the hotspot and the structures around it that the UHECRs they had detected are “produced at sources in the Virgo Cluster, and escape to and propagate along filaments, before they are scattered toward us” (Kim et al. 2019). This finding pointed toward the likely source of the UHECRs striking Earth: the supermassive black hole at the core of the M87 galaxy. Nothing less than the extreme velocities and extreme energy density in the jet generated by M87′s supermassive black hole would be able to explain the characteristics of the UHECRs observed on Earth (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Nucleus of the M87 galaxy showing the relativistic jet blasting out from just outside of M87’s supermassive black hole. The jet, 4400 light-years long, is comprised of matter ejected at relativistic velocities by the supermassive black hole. Image credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

The existence of a large population of black holes in the universe raises a question to Christians about the existence and nature of the God of the Bible. A question that has been asked frequently at public events is this: if the biblical Creator is the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving being the Scriptures portray, why would such a God design and create a universe in which life faces a pervasive risk from health-damaging, if not life-destroying, cosmic radiation produced by black holes? Apparently, others have faced this question as well (Stepanek 2019; Oakes 2013).

This God certainly could have created and designed a universe without black holes. However, such a universe, as best we can model its properties and behavior, would be governed by totally different laws or constants of physics. It would be a universe with different values for one or more of the fundamental physical constants or possibly without the operation of gravity, electromagnetism, and the nuclear forces, or without thermodynamics characterized by high entropy (entropy is a measure of the decay or disorganization of a system as the system continuously moves from order to chaos). It would also be a universe of much smaller mass and mass density. Any substantially alternate universe we hypothesize and test would be a place in which physical life as we experience it would be impossible. It is possible, nevertheless, to conceive of life forms that are not physical, not composed of elements in the periodic table, and not subject to the universe’s features, physics, and dimensions living in a realm with much different physics and dimensions. One such example would be the existence of angels in a realm that transcends the cosmos.

In a physical universe with sufficiently different physics and cosmic properties to avoid the existence of black holes, the stars and planets needed for the existence of physical life would not exist, nor would many life-essential elements heavier than iron. Thus, carbon-based life would be impossible. Of all the elements in the periodic table, astrobiologists concur that only carbon manifests the chemical bonding complexity and chemical bonding stability that physical life requires (Pace 2001).

A universe without black holes also would be a universe missing many of the heavier-than-iron elements that are essential for advanced life and advanced civilization. About half the elements heavier than iron are r-process elements (rapid neutron capture process elements). Observations of neutron star merging events, where two neutron stars merge to become a black hole, establish that most, if not nearly all, r-process elements that exist on Earth and elsewhere in the universe came from neutron star merging events (Chornock et al. 2017; Tanvir et al. 2017). The remainder come from core-collapse supernovae.

R-process elements include silver, gold, platinum, palladium, and osmium. These elements are crucial for launching and sustaining high-technology civilization. They also are important for treating human health challenges.
Other r-process elements, thorium and uranium, which Earth possesses at abundance levels hundreds of times greater than the average for other rocky bodies in the universe, contribute to a large degree to Earth’s enduring, strong magnetic field, which has protected and is protecting early Earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere from desiccation and its life from deadly solar and cosmic radiation. While astronomers cannot yet measure the abundances of r-process elements in rocky bodies beyond the solar system, they can compare the abundances of Earth’s r-process elements to the average abundances for the universe and Milky Way Galaxy where elements unlikely to be retained by the gravity of rocky bodies are subtracted out. Earth’s superabundance of thorium and uranium also explains its enduring plate tectonics, which transformed the planet from a water world into a planet with both surface oceans and surface continents, a feature crucial for the recycling life-critical nutrients and the buildup of atmospheric oxygen (Duncan and Dasgupta 2017; Ross 2020).

The first black holes formed from the first of a particular kind of supernova, a core-collapse supernova (Heger et al. 2003). Many more also formed from mergers between neutron stars. Astrophysicists have determined that core-collapse supernovae and neutron star mergers are responsible for the manufacture of 100 percent of 13 of the r-process elements and play the most significant role in forming the remaining 28 r-process elements in the universe (Leach 2020; Johnson 2017). Furthermore, these pathways to black hole formation ensure the distribution of these r-process elements to the interstellar clouds that produce future generations of stars and planets. These pathways also ensure that nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, molybdenum, iodine, and tin—elements essential for animal life—exist in the required locations and in the essential abundances (Emsley 1998).

Black holes also serve as the repository of most of the universe’s entropy. Australian astronomers Chas Egan and Charles Lineweaver calculated the entropy budget of components comprising the observable universe (Egan and Lineweaver 2010) and found that supermassive black holes account for 99.998 percent of the total entropy. Stellar-mass black holes (formed by the gravitational collapse of burned-out stars) make up 0.002 percent. Photons, neutrinos, dark matter, relic gravitons, and the interstellar and intergalactic medium comprise 0.000000000005 percent. Stars, planets, asteroids, and comets account for a mere 0.000000000000000000001 percent. If the entropy of the universe were distributed any differently, with substantially less residing in black holes, the stars and planets necessary to make possible the existence of any kind of physical life would not have formed.

In summary, it appears that in order to have elements heavier than iron in the universe, we need the large neutron fluxes that occur during supernova eruptions and the mergers of neutron stars. The by-products of supernovae are neutron stars and black holes, which can merge to become supermassive black holes, which in turn can produce deadly radiation. Supermassive blackholes serve as an essential entropy repository of the universe. Therefore, supermassive black holes appear to be a constrained-optimization consequence of the fine-tuning that is required for the possibility of advanced life in the universe. Thus, the theist can argue that they make sense in a Creator’s plan. However, there is more.

Just as in the realm of commercial and residential real estate, location is significant on a cosmic scale—only more so. Humanity must be kept a great distance from black holes. Earth’s address in the universe could be described in this way: we live in the Milky Way galaxy (MWG), within the Local Group of galaxies, within the Virgo cluster of galaxies, within the Laniakea supercluster of galaxies.

Of all the known superclusters of galaxies, the Laniakea’s shape stands out, and its unusual shape is essential to our existence. The Laniakea’s shape resembles that of a stick man or stick insect, as opposed to a spheroid or ellipsoid structure tightly packed with galaxy clusters and galaxies (see Figure 2). This extraordinary shape slows the growth of supermassive black holes and spreads them far from one another. Life is possible in our galaxy because the MWG resides in a supercluster where the galaxy clusters and galaxy groups are relatively small and distant from one another.


Figure 2. Galaxy clusters and groups comprising the Laniakea supercluster. The small red dot slightly above and left of center shows the position of the Local Group of galaxies of which the Milky Way galaxy is a member. Image credit: Andrew Z. Colvin, Creative Commons Attribution.

The location of the Local Group appears to be optimal, too. The galaxy groups in its immediate vicinity are all small and the next closest galaxy groups are also relatively small. None contain galaxies large enough to produce a supermassive black hole with the capacity to threaten life in our galaxy.
The Virgo cluster is the only large, dense galaxy cluster in the Laniakea supercluster. It is also the only galaxy cluster within the Laniakea supercluster that contains super-supermassive black holes (SSMBHs), black holes with masses exceeding 1 billion solar masses. The deadliest SSMBH in the Virgo cluster is the one in M87. This SSMBH resides 53.7 million light-years from Earth. Due to its great distance and because the relativistic jet of radiation blasted out from the vicinity of the SSMBH’s event horizon points away from the MWG, human health and civilization are safe from its radiation.
The Local Group also differs from others of its kind. It contains no giant galaxies, only two large galaxies, MWG and Andromeda, and about a hundred dwarf galaxies. Remarkably, its two large galaxies are far from each other, separated by 2.5 million light-years.

Another unique and crucial-for-life feature of the Local Group is its low population of supermassive black holes. Not only do virtually all medium, large, and giant galaxies possess a supermassive black hole in their core, but so do many dwarf galaxies. However, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the most massive of the dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, does not. Despite a total mass now determined to be greater than 200 billion solar masses (Peñarrubia et al. 2016; Laporte et al. 2018; Behroozi et al. 2013; Deason et al. 2015), the LMC lacks a supermassive black hole.

The kick velocities of the stars HVS3 and HE 0437-5439 ejected from the center or very near the center of the LMC indicate the presence of a black hole at the LMC’s center with a mass equal to 4000 solar masses, at a minimum (Erkal et al. 2019; Gualandris and Zwart 2007). However, astronomers are unable to detect any radiation coming from the region just outside the event horizon of LMC’s black hole. The absence of detectable radiation indicates one of two possibilities: either the mass of LMC’s central black hole is close to its measured lower limit of 4000 solar masses, or this black hole is accreting very little gas and no objects with a mass greater than that of a small moon (small in the context of our solar system). In either case, the LMC’s central black hole currently poses no risk of measurable harm to advanced life on Earth.

One might think the LMC’s tiny central black hole is irrelevant in that advanced life in the Milky Way galaxy (MWG) does not require a nearby galaxy like the LMC. However, such is not the case.

The proximity of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, their large masses, and their high gas contents allow the tidal forces of the MWG to draw in a nearly steady stream of gas from the Clouds (Indu and Subramaniam 2015; Pardy et al. 2018; Lucchini et al. 2021). Also, the Magellanic Clouds are massive enough, close enough to each other, and positioned relative to the MWG in such a way that they are able to efficiently funnel a steady supply of small and gas-rich dwarf galaxies into the MWG (Deason et al. 2015; Zhang et al. 2019; Lucchini et al. 2021; Vasiliev et al. 2021). This steady, gradual, ongoing supply of gas has sustained the MWG’s spiral structure throughout the past several billion years without disturbing its overall symmetry and morphology. These details help explain why the MWG can be a home for advanced life.

Our nearest large galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy (AG), is home to the Local Group’s largest supermassive black hole. Determining the mass of AG’s supermassive black hole was complicated by the presence in the AG’s core of three distinct stellar nuclei—compact disks of stars labelled by astronomers as P1, P2, and P3. A team of fifteen astronomers led by Ralf Bender approached the task by analyzing the dynamics of P1, P2, and P3 relative to the supermassive black hole. Their analysis indicated that the supermassive black hole’s mass equals 140 million solar masses (Bender et al. 2005). By taking into account all conceivable random and systematic errors in their analysis, they showed that the mass of AG’s supermassive black hole equals no less than 110 million solar masses.

With the AG residing only 2.5 million light-years away, its supermassive black hole could easily pose a threat to Earth’s advanced life—and at some time in its past it most certainly did. If it were to accrete anything as massive as a large planet, let alone a star, the region just outside this supermassive black hole’s event horizon would emit deadly radiation throughout the Local Group. Astronomers express surprise at how little high-energy radiation the AG’s supermassive black hole is currently emitting (Li et al. 2011). A huge amount of high-energy radiation from that source would not have posed much of a problem for microbial life earlier in the history in the MWG, but for advanced life on Earth it is fortunate that the AG’s supermassive black hole currently remains as quiet as it does.

Since the radiation from supermassive black holes in other large galaxies is considered deadly to life more complex and energetic than bacteria, one must ask why advanced life can and does exist in our galaxy? The exceptionally low mass of the MWG’s supermassive black hole provides part of the answer. Weighing in at just 4.152 ± 0.014 million solar masses (The Gravity Collaboration 2019), only a limited amount of deadly radiation can emanate from our supermassive black hole.

The MWG’s supermassive black hole’s low mass is truly extraordinary and unexpected. It deviates by far from the otherwise strong and consistent correlation among multiple galaxy characteristics and the mass of these galaxies’ supermassive black holes. The MWG’s supermassive black hole should be significantly more massive than it is based on several features:
Number of globular clusters orbiting the galaxy (González-Lópezlira et al. 2017; Harris et al. 2014; Rhode 2012).

Mass of the galaxy’s central bulge (De Nicola et al. 2019; Yang et al. 2019; Kormendy and Ho 2013; Miki et al. 2014).
Luminosity of the galaxy’s central bulge (Marconi and Hunt 2003).
Luminosity of the galaxy (Do et al. 2014; Gültekin et al. 2009).
The pitch angle (angle in a disk galaxy between a line tangent to a circle and to the spiral arm at a given distance from the galactic center) of the spiral arms (Berrier et al. 2013; Seigar et al. 2008).
Velocity dispersion (range of velocities) of the stars in the galaxy’s central bulge (Marsden et al. 2020; Ates et al. 2013).
The stellar mass of the galaxy, to a lesser degree (Shankar et al. 2020).
In a galaxy’s central bulge, the density of stars is equal to, or near, that of a globular cluster, a tight grouping of 50,000–10,000,000 stars (see Figure 3). The velocity of the gas in the central bulge is directly proportional to the mass of the galaxy’s supermassive black hole. Although this velocity can be difficult to measure, the velocity dispersion of stars in a central bulge can be measured more easily, and astronomers have demonstrated that it correlates tightly with the gas velocity.


Figure 3. NGC 362, a typical globular cluster. Image credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble WFC3.

These correlations apply to all galaxies, but with slight variation depending on the type of host galaxy (Sahu et al. 2019). Where the galaxy has an active galactic nucleus, astronomers must first correct for the differing dust extinction (Caglar et al. 2020). For supergiant elliptical galaxies in the cores of large galaxy clusters, supermassive black holes tend to be more massive than those in elliptical field galaxies residing either outside of, or on the fringes of, galaxy clusters (Zubovas and King 2012). Likewise, these correlations indicate a higher supermassive black hole mass for an elliptical field galaxy than for a spiral galaxy (Mutlu-Pakdil et al. 2016; Watabe et al. 2009; Zubovas and King 2012). Among spiral galaxies, those with a central bar structure tend to possess slightly less massive supermassive black holes than do spiral galaxies without this structure (Hartmann et al. 2014; Nayakshin et al. 2012a).

Given that the MWG is a spiral galaxy with a central bar structure, astronomers would expect its supermassive black hole to be slightly less massive than the six or seven correlations would otherwise indicate (based on the average properties of the known population of galaxies). While the total mass of the Andromeda galaxy is equal to the mass of our galaxy, and both galaxies are barred spirals (Beaton et al. 2007), only the mass of AG’s supermassive black hole aligns with all these correlations. The MWG’s supermassive black hole measures about 35 times less massive. This difference in mass means that our galaxy’s supermassive black hole holds a far lower potential (at least 35 times lower) to emit deadly radiation from regions just outside its event horizon. (The potential of a supermassive black hole to emit deadly radiation from outside its event horizon typically increases geometrically with its mass.) This much lower potential—by a factor of at least 35—allows for the possibility of advanced life’s existence and survival within the MWG.

In a paper titled “The Murmur of the Hidden Monster,” a team of astronomers reported on their Chandra X-Ray Observatory measurements of the x-ray radiation attributable to the AG’s supermassive black hole (Li et al. 2011). From 1999 to 2005, its radiation output measured less than or equal to 1036 ergs/second—less than a ten billionth of its maximum potential output. In the following six years, the team observed an average x-ray flux of only 4.8 × 1036ergs/second, including one brief outburst of 4.3 × 1037 ergs/second.
The very low X-ray flux resulting from AG’s supermassive black hole motivated the astronomers to describe the supermassive black hole as “remarkable” for its “extreme radiative quiescence” (Li et al. 2011). If not for this extreme radiative quiescence, advanced life would be impossible anywhere within the MWG despite our distance from Andromeda’s core.
By comparison, M32, a dwarf galaxy in the vicinity of the AG with only a fourth of the AG’s or MWG’s total mass, hosts a supermassive black hole some 85 percent as massive as the MWG’s supermassive black hole. The very weak X-ray radiation currently emitted from M32’s core implies that M32’s supermassive black hole must be fuel-starved. Its accretion rate must be less than a ten billionth of a solar mass per year (less than the mass of the asteroid Vesta per year) (Loewenstein et al. 1998).

The known history of M32 tells astronomers that the current very low accretion rate of its supermassive black hole has remained roughly the same throughout the past 200 million years (Block et al. 2006). Given this timing, M32’s supermassive black hole has presented no danger to advanced life in the Milky Way.

The other large dwarf galaxies in the AG’s vicinity, M33 and NGC 205, both lack a supermassive black hole (Gebhardt et al. 2001; Merritt et al. 2001; Valluri et al. 2005), and all the remaining dwarf galaxies in the Local Group possess central black holes less massive than 10,000 solar masses. Not far beyond the Local Group’s outer boundaries, the dwarf galaxy NGC 404 has a central black hole roughly 100,000 times the mass of the Sun (Seth et al. 2010). Neither NGC 404 nor any other dwarf galaxy poses any danger to life in the MWG.

Just as importantly, if not more so, our own galaxy’s supermassive black hole currently remains unusually quiet. The quantity and intensity of deadly radiation emitted by supermassive black holes depend on the quantity of gas, dust, comets, asteroids, planets, and/or stars drawn toward its event horizon. Supermassive black holes in nearby galaxies consume a star of the Sun’s mass or greater about once every 100,000 years, on average (Zubovas et al. 2012). When this consumption happens, a bright flare lasting several months or longer floods the galaxy with deadly radiation. Stars smaller than the Sun are consumed about once every 10,000 years, resulting in deadly radiation lasting several days to weeks. These galaxies also consume molecular gas clouds at a rate anywhere from once per century to once every few millennia, events that likewise result in the emission of deadly radiation lasting days to weeks.
Instead, the MWG’s supermassive black hole has entered a phase of minimal consumption, akin to light snacking. It produces tiny flares that last only hours on an almost daily basis (Zubovas et al. 2012). In 2012, a team of astronomers demonstrated that active nuclei supermassive black holes surrounded by giant clouds of comets and asteroids, maintain near-continual mass consumption, which leads to ongoing high energy radiation emission from the region just outside the supermassive black hole’s event horizon (Nayakshin et al. 2012a). It appears that asteroid-comet clouds surround most if not all supermassive black holes (Nayakshin et al. 2012b). In the case of the MWG’s supermassive black hole, however, its relatively small, diffuse asteroid-comet cloud draws relatively miniscule amounts of matter toward the event horizon of the MWG’s supermassive black hole. Thus, only small amounts of matter are being converted into energy, a fact that explains the frequent but tiny flares (Zubovas et al. 2012). As a team of seven astronomers led by Lia Corrales wrote, “The supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, Sgr A*, is surprisingly under-luminous” (Corrales et al. 2017).

Thanks to a host of features, including (but not limited to) the exceptionally low mass of our galaxy’s supermassive black hole and the unusually small mass and density of its surrounding asteroid-comet cloud, life has been able to survive and thrive on Earth, despite some setbacks, throughout the past 3.8 billion years. The limited activity level outside the supermassive black hole’s event horizon has been so stunningly quiet throughout the past 10,000 years that humans have been able to launch, develop, and sustain global civilization.
Clearly, we humans appear to occupy a unique location at a unique time with respect to black holes. The extraordinary characteristics and distribution of black holes in our cosmic neighborhood are but one example of precise fine-tuning and intricate craftsmanship required for our existence. Another is the precise timing and placement of our existence within a hospitable neighborhood.

I believe that these scientific findings provide one way Christians and other theists might reconcile their belief in a God who plans and cares for advanced life on Earth with the seemingly counter-intuitive existence of destructive black holes. This reconciliation also supplies one example of why broad claims that science and faith are at war with each other, or must operate independently, should be subjected to critical scrutiny.

As both a scientist and a Christian, I believe not only that scientific evidence is reconcilable to theism, but that there is much scientific evidence that points to the existence of a powerful, purposeful Creator behind the universe (Davies 2007; Ross 2016; Ross 2018b). To this author, Earth’s capacity to host billions of people who can discern the existence and care of our Creator and, by grace, through faith, enter into an eternal, loving relationship with him inspires and, through ongoing discovery, continually amplifies my sense of awe and wonder.

See: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/12/3/201/htm