One of the key pieces of information discussed with reference to the 2012 apocalypse subject (2012ology) is a long anticipated alignment with the galactic centre, that is, with the very core of the Milky Way galactic star system. For the sake of casual readers and those new to the topic let me regale you with my recent astronomical re-education brought about largely by studying an excellent (and expensive) astronomy and cosmology book called simply, ‘Astronomica’.
The basis of the 2012 alignment as discussed comes from a synergy of several astronomical phenomena and events. To start with we recall that Earth circles the star called Sol (hence ‘Solar’ system), Sol is a star out on the so called ‘Local’ or ‘Orion’ arm of a Spiral type Galaxy named The Milky Way. For sake of general interest lets include also the dimensions of our Galaxy, it is around 100,000 light years in diameter (excluding the atomic hydrogen gas and dark matter) and includes some 100 billion stars.
Thanks initially to viewing other galaxies of the same type it became clear that spiral arm galaxies had at their centre a bulge. Looking up into our night sky in the right location at the right time confirms that we to have such a bulge, and that we are indeed looking edge on at a galactic disk. Comparative studies show that this bulge is indeed the centre of a spiral galaxy, and has itself a number of unique phenomena associated to it that should be explained here for a better understanding of our cosmic position.
Turning our eyes, and indeed advanced radio telescopes, inward toward the core we see there is a band of darkness strung along the central galactic plane, this is known as the Great Rift, and these dust clouds will later cause us some problems in our observations. Zooming in further we see the Spherical Halo that makes up our earlier witnessed bulge, it incorporates several globular clusters of stars as well as the major star birthing clouds of the Milky Way, these form a kind of shell about the true central core (interestingly unlike the rest of the stars in the galaxy which all orbit in the same direction, the stars here move in various directions). This image was created by Prof. Andrea Ghez and her research team at UCLA and are from data sets obtained with the W. M. Keck Telescopes. Finally we come to the core itself, long obscured from even the mightiest telescoped due to those dense clouds around it. Thanks though to advanced infrared detection we have discovered that the core is slightly peanut shaped, with a central bar of extremely ancient stars acting like a central column about which all else turns, residing within ionised molecular gas, a structure known as the 3-5 kilo parsec ring. The observed velocity of this star cluster has lead to the understanding that they are being interacted upon by a black hole with the mass of four million stars! 2012 apocalypse
Black holes are one of the most fascinating phenomena in the known Universe. For those not familiar with Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, it states that when huge mass is compressed into small space the normal dimensions of space become warped. At that point nothing can escape, not even light, with no light we of course have no visibility of the object. This results in a so called black hole, a type of quantum singularity into which everything about it is drawn by incredibly intense gravitational forces. A star significantly larger than our own can in its final stages become a black hole with intense gravitational pull, therefore the forces involved in a black hole of four million solar mass is rather mind boggling. The black hole can be thought of rather like the plug hole about which water spins as it exit’s a bathtub. Fortunately we are not being rapidly pulled into our own plug hole, the distances involved seem to allow relative balance for the surrounding stars.