It Seems Simple To Me
“The Brightest Flash of Light Ever Recorded Now Has An Explanation.”
That’s quite a headline. I would have opted for something shorter like, “Say Cheese! Says Heaven.”
When I saw that long headline this morning I had to read what followed.
It seems that in June of 2015 a pair of Israeli Observers (Read two guys who stay up all night really looking for UFOs, but won’t admit it.) were gazing into the night skies when they saw a bright flash of light – and lucky for them, they had their GoPro cameras or iPhones turned on to record the event. Why was I not told about this?
Jumping ahead 18 months or so to this morning the Observers say that they have finally figured out what caused it.
“…the burst was caused by the destruction of a star consumed by a black hole at the center of a distant galaxy,”
Somehow, I have my doubts about their explanation. It all seems too complicated. I think it all might have a much simpler cause.
“What did you do last night?”
“We stayed up all night staring at the sky, like most nights.”
“See anything interesting?”
“No. Just a bright flash of light.”
“Oh, what was that all about?
“That sounds reasonable to me. That was it. Mystery solved.”
“I dunno. My boss thinks it was a star being ripped apart by a black hole in a distant galaxy.”
“Hmm? I’d go for the pizza guy thing.”
“Yeah, me too.”
I make no claims to be a scientist of any sort. I was Liberal Arts major. I’m lucky I can read the label on a can of beans, but if this brightest light ever came from a “distant galaxy” – well, I have doubts that anyone can give a surefire explanation any better than, “The pizza guy had his bright lights on.”
“When a star passes within the tidal radius of a supermassive black hole, it will be torn apart. The rapid spin and high black hole mass can explain the high luminosity of this event.”
Loose translation into English: “I admit we were drinking and before I passed out my head was spinning something fierce, and then…I saw this bright light. Funny thing is I could swear I also smelled pepperoni.”
I admit that this is a very loose translation from the original “Astronomerese.”
Explaining what happens out there in the permanent night is, quite literally, a shot in the dark. The “Black Hole” idea about the bright light is as good as any I suppose, and just as valid as anything I could come up with. I like mine better. My explanation allows the guys who spend their nights gazing skyward to have a little fun – and some pizza. If we blindly accept the more scientific sounding explanation it makes me sad. Can life be any duller than spending each night sitting in the dark waiting for something, anything, to happen? It must be like being the Understudy to Life.