Monster of The Milky Way

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Ratings: 8.90/10 from 20 users.

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Monster of The Milky WayAstronomers are closing in on the proof they’ve sought for years that one of the most destructive objects in the universe - a super massive black hole - lurks at the center of our own galaxy. Could it flare up and consume our entire galactic neighborhood?

NOVA takes us on a mind-bending investigation into one of the most bizarre corners of cosmological science: black hole research. From event horizon to singularity, the elusive secrets of supermassive black holes are revealed through stunning computer-generated imagery, including an extraordinary simulation of what it might look like to fall into the belly of such an all-devouring beast.

Space, itself, is falling inside the black hole. It’s rather like a river falling over a waterfall. It’s like that, except it’s space, itself, that’s falling over the cliff. There’s a place where the space starts moving faster than light, so, the light is just trying to get out. It’s rather like a kayaker, trying to make their way upstream, on a river that’s going too fast. They get dragged down to the center of the black hole.

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38 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Kumar Sanghvi

    Very nice documentary.
    Astronomers / scientists are doing a really good study in unveiling the dark and unknown 'Black Holes'. Very interesting observation they have made is that 'Black Holes' are the center of all the galaxies, including our own 'Milky Way'.

  2. maxi

    i am scared now but also excited to know what it's like once you pass through the black hole. i guess when the time comes when the center starts feeding on its environment including our own solar system then we will know...or not know.

    see you on the other side!! loved this video.

  3. MadMurad

    Good documentary.
    I was afraid it was just another quite empty doc repeating over and over the same basic thing but i found this one interesting to watch.
    The scientists portrayed are nice to listen to and we get an eye on how they work on the field to get those results.
    The visuals are overall pleasant. I found the artistic renderings illustrative and it includes some impressive scientific simulations, like the future collision of our galaxy with andromeda!

  4. Tyler

    Cool. Definitely one of the best astronomy docs I've seen.

  5. JanHans

    Narrated by Jim Lampley!

  6. djrakman

    the best black hole doco yet

  7. God of Truth

    Just a conspiracy theory I have come up with but some of the 2012 doomsday theories suggest that the Earth will be alligned with the centre of the milky way. What if when this happens the Earth is pulled into the black hole?

    I'm not suggesting that this will happen but it is arguably as if not more creible then some of the other 2012 theories i've heard.

  8. Keith

    @God of Truth, what you're suggesting doesn't really add up as far as distances and actual cosmology go. I don't know much about this stuff, but my understanding is that the "alignment" in 2012 is merely a visual one, and has to do with perspective and our orientation toward the center of the Milky Way, and no so much distance. I suppose each time we transit around the the sun in a year we have points of relative closeness or nearness to the center, but at all times our entire solar system is a phenomenal distance from the center. The visual phenomena from Earth's perspective of alignment, if I understand correctly, would have nothing really to do with our proximity to the center. I'm pretty sure the theoretical black hole at the center of the milky way would have to grow and expand for many billions of years to draw our solar system into it. More credible than Nibiru? Maybe. More credible or likely than polar shift? no. More credible or likely than an asteroid collision or a supervolcano eruption? No and no. At least as far as I understand things.

  9. ashbreaksstuff

    why do scientists have crazy hair?

  10. hmmmmmm

    @God of Truth and Keith too.

    First thing to remember is that light (as well as the force of gravity) travels at 186,000 miles in 1 second in space, for reference the earth(the big giant rock under your feet) is about 25,000 miles around. just think about that for a minute, try to imagine it. that will help u in appreciating the black hole's location later on and it's potential for influence on us.

    Imagine a top down view of our galaxy, which, in case you didn't know, is a collection of about 200,000,000,000 stars with huge amounts of space between them. an average of a couple of light YEARS worth of empty space between them, so its all mostly empty space. the whole collection revolves around the center. One revolution takes about 250,000,000 years. Also the Galaxy is about 100,000 light YEARS across and about 1,000 light YEARS thick. and for reference our sun is about 66,000 light YEARS from the center. and therefore it takes 66,000 years for light and gravity from the center of the galaxy to reach us.

    In the center u have the super-massive black hole, which is best thought of as a dark star. a star with no light, just gravity. there is no directional sucking force. It's a massive object that is warping the space around it towards itself equally in all directions, just like all massive objects do. that warping of space translates to acceleration toward the center of the object and is A.K.A. gravity, "our" super massive dark star at the center of our galaxy is real and measured to have a mass ruffly equal to the mass of 4 million of our suns. (mass/density NOT size/extent) NOTE: gravity gets A LOT stronger the closer u are to the source and A LOT weaker the farther u get from the source.

    Our Sun is a little less than 1,000,000 Miles across. our earth is about 8,000 miles across, the Sun is 98,000,000 miles away and it's light and gravitational influence takes 480 seconds (8 minutes) to get here to us. the diameter of earths orbit is 2 X 98 million or 196,000,000 million miles and the distance all the way around the sun is pie times the diameter or 3.14X196 million, so that's 615,440,000 miles in a circle every 365 days that the earth travels through space while the Sun travels around the center of the galaxy every 250,000,000 years.

    soooooo...... if u think about it for a little bit you'll realize that the earth and sun line up with the center of the galaxy twice every year, once with the sun closer to the center and once with the earth closer to the center.

    but then u need to remember that the center of the galaxy is 66,000 light YEARS away, that's 186,000 miles per second for 66,000 years........ or 60X60X24X365X186,000X66,000 = 387,135,936,000,000,000 miles, my god that is insanely far away considering the earth sun distance from each other is 98,000,000 miles.

    so every year, once a year, the earth is 98,000,000 miles closer to an invisible star which is 4 million times heavier than our sun and is 387,135,936,000,000,000 miles away, the earth is 98,000,000 miles farther away once a year as well, each time making a straight line (from a top down view) with earth/sun/black hole. and every year nothing extraordinary happens, so neither will it in 2012 when we are 2/250 millionths of a light YEAR farther around the galaxy than we are today.

    we are so far away from the center that we don't feel it at all, it is not the source of the galaxies rotation, the galaxy is surrounded by a giant cloud of invisible stuff(called dark matter for lack of a better word) that is 5 times more massive than the stars and dust in the galaxy, and this weird stuff is what holds the galaxy together and makes it spin, the super massive black hole is in the center because everything on one side of the galaxy is attracted to everything on the other side of the galaxy, so it only makes sense that the heaviest thing would be found in the center.

    The times, distances, and sizes involved are so mind numbingly huge that we just don't have to worry about them hurting us here on this tiny little spec of moist rock that is soooo far away from everything.

    the only things from space worth worrying about are big meteorites.

  11. david the bear

    @hmmmm just a thought................are you god?

  12. geezernumba1

    @hmmmm, yeh i know.

  13. Road Hammer

    you saying light from centre galaxy to our sun 66,000 years also you said gravity too. about light you right i guess but about gravity i have to tell you its travel way way faster then light. thank you.

  14. Nakor420

    It's called the great alignment, and it's based in science, not conspiracy. And your "theory" isn't credible AT ALL. The black whole in question is thousands of light years away in the center of our galaxy, there's no possible way that simply by being aligned with it can cause the earth to be sucked into it. Just because we are in a straight line with the sun and the black hole isn't going to magically transport the earth to the center of our galaxy. GOD, use some common sense man! The maya believed their god Kulkulkan would descend from the sky and destroy the earth on that day. Scholars believe Kulkulkan was a comet that was worshiped by the Maya. Put it together genius.

  15. Nakor420

    Very good facts, but one thing doesn't mesh. Gravity doesn't TRAVEL. It's a warping of space time that surrounds objects creating a gravitational well. It doesn't need to travel to effect other objects, it has a set diameter that is constant. Imagine holding a bed sheet taught. then dropping a golf bal in the center. The dent created by the ball doesn't travel out from the center, the entire dent is created in one event. Thus it is with the warping of space-time. Also, meteorites are not the only threat from space, there are comets, gamma ray bursts, solar storms, rogue planets and black holes and a few others. Everything else you said was quite good though.

  16. Nakor420

    So the galactic center was first seen by Vigo from ghostbusters 2?

  17. Michael Allen

    actually, gravity travels at the speed of light.

  18. Razael

    Gravity's influence can only travel as fast as light. 299792458 meters per second or 186282 miles per second. Nothing travels faster except for maybe tachyons.

  19. Razael

    The black hole has such a miniscule fraction of the gravitational force on us as all the rest of the stars in our galaxy have...

    What other objects are being sucked into the black hole just because they are lined up with it? Dude, there are stars right next to the damn thing that are just being flung by...

    Also, when the Earth is more than 4 billion (yes with a "B") times farther away from the black hole than the Sun, even if the black hole is 3 or 4 million times as massive; the influence we feel from the black hole is so small you would never notice it even if we were lined up right in the middle.

    So, yes, that does sound about as credible as any other 2012 "theories". LOL

    I'll bet your first post after 2012 will be going off about how we'll be flung out into space in 2018 because we're lined up exactly the opposite side the sun from the black hole! :D

  20. Razael

    I believe that the kulkulkan, (or Quetzalcoatl, what ever you want to call him) is a badly translated and somewhat mixed up story of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

  21. Nakor420

    How can you say the legend of Kulkulkan is a mixed up version of "Jesus" when it came thousands of years BEFORE christianity? Seriously....go read a book or something.

  22. Razael

    I like books... :(

    Kulkulkan had it's origins in the classic period of the mayan civilization which was around 200-900 CE.

    Either way I believe Christianity started long before people ever started calling it that. :)

  23. Nakor420

    That's still WAY before Christianity, and on the OTHER side of the world. They had ZERO knowledge of Christ, so I highly doubt they fashioned there god after christ. It has been showed that kulkulkan was a comet. And if the great mayan astronomers say it wil descend from the heavens and destroy the earth, they may very well have been right.

  24. Ravi Shankar

    Your are wrong, pls check your facts, This kind of Galactic Alignment occurs only once every 26,000 years

  25. Arizona Coleman

    to be honest....the basis for christianity started after the exodus from egypt, at the consecration of israel as god's holy people at mt sinai. yes, this was *way* before jesus, but it was the beginning that lead up to him. especially since he was the fulfillment of the old ways.

    and razel is right in regards to how much gravitational pull is really being emitted. this super massive black hole is nothing but the engine that powers the milky way. it really has no pull on anything as regards to sucking anything in. its rotation is just powerful enough to cause the galactic spin, much like a rotor that creates the magnetic field in a generator.

  26. Paul Michaelson

    Gravity is a convex in space time. And does not travel at all.

  27. Paul Michaelson

    Gravity does not Travel at all, Gravity is simply a depression in space time. Gravity has no mass yet attracts all mass. All objects have gravity.

  28. Maddox 1414

    Einstein would disagree, gravity travels in space at the speed of light; just as anything else can. Meaning, if the Sun suddenly didn't exist we would not fly away immediately, but rather wait 8 minutes then fly off orbit. Re-look depression in space also, field theory is some pretty weird stuff.

  29. zengardener

    Imagine that you are standing on a long rope bridge.
    Someone cuts one end.
    That piece of rope, starting at the cut, falls.
    The drop in rope travels towards you at the speed of light.
    It isn't really a thing traveling at all.
    Reality spreads at the speed of light.

  30. Space Nut

    They cut the rope you would immediately fall. It's got nothing to do with reality.

  31. Space Nut

    complete waste of money!! millions maybe even billions of dollars, just so we can take a picture of a black hole! If they already knew it was there by math, why waste the money to photograph it!! and now that the did then what... nothing! a complete waste of money that could be put to better use. That's America for ya!!

  32. Maddox 1414

    I do think this is the direction we're taking physics, not that we make it real, but obviously there are a lot of ways to look at the same one thing. It's not that reality travels at a max speed, its that space itself follows a very strange speed rule. And for Space Nut, if you cut a tightrope that is one light year long, and your standing one meter from the opposite end.. you do NOT fall immediately. Line tension is what is holding you up, and that lack of tension that would let you fall would take a year at the speed of light to get to you. Take that and add it to the properties of space, and you've got a much better understanding of how things "move".

  33. zengardener

    That isn't the way it works.

  34. gnice3d

    Gravitational waves travel across the entire visible galaxy. Welcome to the 20th century.

  35. gnice3d

    Black holes could legitimately hold the key to the development of every galaxy in the universe and represent a prerequisite for existence itself and you think investigating them is a waste of resources.

  36. Roy

    Excuse me if I am wrong, but gravity doesn't travel and nor is it an entity by its self. Gravity is an inert property of mass. No mass, no gravity. It may seem like it travels, but that is just the lessening effect, the further away the two objects are from each other. Every single piece of matter is bound by their atoms electromagnetic force that holds things together. It works of course similarly in larger scale objects, which we call gravity.

    Also, Black holes are not "holes". They are spheres. They are perceived as holes because we can't see them as three dimensional objects, as we know, light can't escape it, thus it will look like a hole no matter which side you see it from.

    Personally, I would rather call them Black Stars from which they once derived from. Calling them Black Holes is like still calling the earth flat or, as we still say that the sun rises and sets, which we all know that the sun does nothing of sorts. We rotate around it at an angle, producing that effect. We really need to update our language according to our knowledge.

  37. Achems_Razor

    Apparently gravity does travel, at the speed of light, look up Gravitons.

  38. ScribbleDeeDoo

    In general relativity, gravity propagates at the speed of light; that is, the motion of a massive object creates a distortion in the curvature of space-time that moves outward at light speed. As to black holes, it is in fact likely best to consider them as holes, as their singularity is both infinitely dense and small. Such attributes lend themselves therefore better to the characteristics of a hole in space. And of course the event horizon is not to be confused with the singularity, as it is simply the region in space where gravity is so strong light cannot escape.

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