Cosmological Thoughts

From Lileks:

Says io9: “Two enormous, gamma-ray-emitting structures are bubbling out of the center of our galaxy. And astronomers have no idea what caused them.” That’s comforting. They do have an explanation for the enormous white brackets and letters and numbers, each of which is several hundred light-years across, but about the bubbles they got bupkis. That’s not what gets me, though: it’s the Milky Way. Suddenly it seems as if we really should have a better name for the galaxy. You meet some aliens, work out the language issues, and find out they call the Galaxy “The Hand of God Prime” or “The Torch of the Void” or “The Cradle of Light,” and then they ask us, and then they look at us with their eyes on stalks moving quizzically up and down and say, in their grating metallic voices, “The Fluid of Mammary Glands Road? Seriously?” And one of them spies a Milky Way candy bar – actually, he heard its distinct chemical signature as it underwent a chemical change when the wrapper opened, and this produced a rather dissonant change in the infra-red spectrum, which they usually reserve for tragedy and dark comedy – and he asks why that is named after the galaxy. Or if it’s named for breast milk. “It’s all about tits with you people, isn’t it?” And then we sort of nod and say, well, you got us there, what can we say. But what did you say you called Andromeda, the Comely Buttock? To each his own, then.

Also thoughts on colliding galaxies, and failure to us a turn signal.

4 thoughts on “Cosmological Thoughts”

  1. Wait a minute. All I know about vast cosmic thingamabobbers is what I learn watching the edutainment channels on cable TV, and the first thing that would occur to me if there are ginormous blobs of gamma-ray-emitting stuff spewing out of the center of the galaxy is that the super-massive black hole is swallowing some stars and trying to turn some alien Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk.

  2. My daughter was asking me the question why our galaxy was called the “Milky Way” just a few days ago. In her mind, she was thinking the name was connected in some way with the Milky Way candy bar. We live in the SF Bay Area and the actual Milky Way is only rarely visible because of light pollution so she doesn’t really know what it is.

    We both agree, there really should come up with a better name four our Galaxy — and it wouldn’t hurt to have a name for our Solar System as well.

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