It’s true that we know quite a bit about black holes, but in the grand scheme of things, we only understand them at a very basic level. We’ve worked out roughly how they’re formed and what sort of physical processes happen around them, but can only hazard a guess as to what they look like on the inside or what really happens to objects that pass through their centre. Scientists estimate that there are around 100 million black holes in our own galaxy - although we’re unable to physically see any of them, as even light itself cannot escape.
It’s quite an astonishing fact that things we can physically see, such as planets, galaxies, stars etc. make up only around 5% of the total universe. But what fills the rest of it? Well, scientists have recently come to believe that 27% of what remains is filled with something called ‘dark matter’ - although we can’t see it and have no idea how it works.
‘The Great Attractor’
Around 220 million light years away from us is something known as ‘The Great Attractor’ - and it’s aptly named, because whatever it is, our entire galaxy is slowly being dragged towards it. Some scientists believe that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is blocking our view of whatever is pulling us towards it, while others claim it may be caused by Dark Matter.
There are around six billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone and a total of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets (yep, that many) in the observable universe. For many, this begs the question: Why haven’t we met or seen aliens yet? Surely with this number of planets, in any case it would be unlikely that they don’t exist. Hundreds of explanations for this have been proposed by scientists over the years, but the bleak truth may well be that we are indeed just truly alone in the universe.
Does time even exist?
Without getting too philosophical, time really is a slippery concept for humans to grasp at a fundamental level. Many would argue that time, in essence, is what stops everything that could ever happen, from happening all at once. Humans tend to perceive time as something ongoing and continuous, but this might not necessarily be the case. In the grand scheme of things time is subject to relativity and might act differently in other parts of the universe. However, we’re unlikely to be able to research or conduct experiments until we have the technology to do so.
With all this uncertainty about the universe, we can at least be sure about one thing: You can bring someone joy and happiness by registering a star in their name today, providing them with a gift that will shine until the end of time.