Sunday, October 30, 2016

Astronomers: 'Universe more politicized than previously thought'

A team of astronomers announced this week that the universe probably has 10 times more galaxies than previously thought, two trillion, or, in layman's terms, roughly the number of lies in your average nightly political TV ad. 

The Hubble space telescope in the 1990s led astronomers to believe there were 200 billion galaxies. Imagine if, at your job, your numbers were 1,800,000,000,000 off. Even if that were in inches, if you were building a library, the books would be in Azusa but you would have to go to the restroom in Redlands. 

It's not rocket science, but it's probably in the next building over at JPL. Along with JPL, the team which used computers to "infer" the far off, currently-invisible-to-view galaxies was at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. 

My guess at the top five classes at the University of Nottingham:

5. Stealing from the rich 101
4. Making those pointy felt hats
3. Archery
2. Tights mending
1. Giving to the poor 101

Of course, I also like to imagine the top class at UNLV is fan dancing. 

The number of galaxies in the new estimate is bound to go up as better and better telescopes come along. I would have thought 200 billion was enough until I heard two trillion. Now I won't be satisfied with fewer than two trillion. It's like how you think you know what a meal is, and then you go to Claim Jumper. From then on, whenever you see a baked potato that isn't bigger than your head, you think "loser."

It is a little silly to think we are the only habitable planet if there are two trillion galaxies inside which there could be thousands of garden spots just like ours. So many habitable planets. So many election cycles. Maybe right now, on Planet Xio, the backers of Zod are screeching about how Blorg's followers are knuckle-dragging hicks, and Blorg's people are firing back with how Zod is in the pocket of the special interests. 

Of course, if I understand this right, the night sky, even with super-powered telescopes, is just a vision of the past, since light takes so long to reach us. There may be chaos out there by now. Let's hope, for the sake of the universe, there was a massive write-in campaign, and some sterling but little-known third candidate, maybe Kalzam, slipped in under the wire for the win. 


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