jaspervalentine asked: Hello Carl! It's nice to be able to talk you... I just have a few questions, one, could you tell me why Black Holes are formed like way out of our reach, and why they cant materialize near our planet, and if they can, why haven't they? Second, have you heard that Pluto has been declassified as a planet, and what are your thoughts? And lastly... Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson (you may have heard of them) have kept up your fantastic work...
Those are great questions, let’s try to seek an answer to them one by one.
Concerning black holes, we must start saying that they don’t simply materialize, the truth is that black holes are just stars. Stars so huge, dense and massive that not even light can go fast enough to escape their gravitational pull. However, it’s not easy for so much stuff to assemble together and form such a massive celestial object, that means most black holes were formed in the primordial universe.
From this knowledge, we can have a better intuition of black holes formation and we may go further to see why they’re not near Earth. We’re alive, here, on this small rock we call Earth. A black hole near Earth would have catastrophic consequences for living beings and probably prevent life completely. That means when the Earth formed billions of years ago there were no near black holes for us to evolve. We’re here simply because we had a chance to be here. In the whole universe there are surely millions of potential Earths that never were, for they were too near a black hole.
Moving to Pluto, I think this shows how human beings are by far the most emotional creatures we know of. By instinct we try to stay with our own ideas and avoid change as much as we can. But that’s not how science works. Science seeks understanding, and to understand one must first put the right things in the right places. We categorize things, and when a new way of categorizing them is proposed, which is better than the previous one, we change. The same way we did when Mendeleev proposed to categorize elements in what is now called the Periodic Table.
Pluto hasn’t changed, it’s the same object it was before, it doesn’t care how we call it on Earth. But for us, we have a new and better categorization and that will help us when we’ll face the next challenges nature will offer.
Finally, I’m immensely grateful to anyone who’s willing to share his or her love for science. Not only famous people, but each one of you, each one who is fascinated by the universe, each one who wants to explore it and understand it, each one who fall asleep under a starry night lost contemplating that we’re one with nature.