Up & Coming Weekly

April 13, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 6 of 24

6 UCW APRIL 14-20, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Something is really big out there. And it is hungry. It may be coming for us. Today we are going to visit the Astronomy Desk to see what Ms. Science has to say to scare us. Having spent a fair amount of time in the back yard pondering the stars over a fire pit in the winter of e Rona when there was nothing much else to do, I learned to look up at the night sky. Johnny Horne's excellent columns about astronomy in the local paper made me realize how little I know about the Great Beyond. My basic understanding about the sky is slim. e sky is pretty big. It gets dark at night and light during the day. Stars are far away. e ancient people who named the constel- lations were inhaling something pretty strong when they looked up and saw Orion and his buddies in the sky. Your phone can tell you everything including what stars you are seeing. ere is an app called Sky View which when you point it up shows the stars' name and draws the constellations. Your phone also can find colorful articles about anything including astronomy. A re- cent article in Vice got my attention. e title was "Something Huge and Invisible is Mak- ing Nearby Stars Vanish, Scientists Propose." From the title I was unsure if Scientists were proposing to Something Huge or to each other. Intrigued, I read the whole thing so you don't have to. is is what I found. We all know what are the five most frighten- ing words in the English language: "according to a new study." is article was no exception. It began "An invisible cosmic behemoth might be tearing apart the closest star cluster to the Sun, leaving one side of the cluster eerily dark and devoid of stars, according to a new study." Uh oh. A hungry Cosmic Behemoth is in the neighborhood. Like those nice young men in their clean white coats, it may be coming to take us away. It's something called a "dark matter substructure" with the mass of 10 mil- lion suns made of "a mysterious non-luminous substance." at did not sound good to the un- practiced ear. e scientists called it a Galactic Lump. is is not to be confused with Lumpy Rutherford from "Leave it to Beaver" who was a big guy himself. Somewhere out in the Cosmos there is a Galactic Lump hanging out in the Hyades star cluster. is is not to be confused with Goo Goo Clusters w hich hang out at the Grand Ol' Opry. Ms. Science Tereza Jerabkova spotted the Galactic Lump in the Taurus constellation us- ing the Gaia satellite to spy on the Hyades star cluster. At the head of the Taurus constellation there is a V shaped cluster of stars called tidal tails that flow backwards like the wake of a speed boat. Most of these V shaped clusters are equal in size on both wings of the cosmic wake. But not Taurus. Something is awry. Something invisible and really big — the Galactic Lump is tearing apart one of the tidal tails. Ms. Science proposes the Galactic Lump a big mess of Dark Matter which has an alias of "sub-halo" in polite society. I prefer Galactic Lump. As this is my column we will just call it Lumpy after Lumpy Rutherford. Ms. Science says that the tail stars aren't be- ing eaten by a Black Hole rather that Lumpy is somehow blocking them from sight through its clever use of Dark Matter. Dark Matter is a big deal in Astronomy — the Dark Matter in the Milky Way Galaxy is thought to be "more than a trillion times the mass of the Sun." So, should we be concerned about Lumpy eventually eating up our solar system and blacking out the Sun? Like Bob Dylan almost warned, "Will we have darkness at the break of noon, eclipsing both the Sun and Moon?" Instead of climate change will we have solar system change? e mind boggles. As we all know, a boggling mind is a terrible thing to waste. Well, so as to not keep you in suspense, Ms. Science says not to worry. Lumpy will not eat our Galaxy. Apparently the Milky Way Galaxy is too small and too far away for Lumpy to be concerned with us. Why would Lumpy want to eat the Milky Way which is the equivalent of MRE's when he can keep chowing down on the much larger Hyades star cluster? We are small cosmic potatoes to Lumpy. He is going to stay at the Hyades Big Buffet in the sky. Ms. Science explained that sometimes star clusters like the Milky Way enter the Transfer Portal like One & Done college bas- ketball players and swap planets and players among themselves. Our solar system is safe from the Transfer Portal because she explained "e Sun is a lonely star that left its natal cluster long ago." I guess that should make us feel better about ourselves but it kind of makes me sad for the Sun. Poor thing, the Sun left its natal cluster and has been on its own for a very long time. Our sun is an orphan, booted out of its natal cluster at a tender age. Isolated from its brother and sister stars without hope of swapping planets. is is Bigly Sad. But not to leave you on a morose note. Lumpy won't eat us. Let us not forget what Hemingway wrote: e Sun also rises. Be like Martha White self-rising flour. Get your bis- cuits out of bed and go face the day. OPINION PITT DICKEY, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Lumpy Rutherford is not to be confused with the Galactic Lump recently discovered by scientists. Don't look up by PITT DICKEY Christian music station local your

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