I have good news and bad news….


I read that the European Space Agency has created a 3D map of the universe that we can see with tracking of some 1.8 billion stars.  Very cool right?  Surely that’s good news.

That’s the good news.

Since every silver lining as a cloud, the bad news is that is we are about 25800 light years distant from being sucked into a black hole, Sagittarius A.

Remember that if your planet is on the move around your yellow star, that same yellow star is on the move through the galaxy.   And there is a black hole in your path.

That’s going to suck.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Global Killer Asteroid Questions, Just Too Cool, Look! Up in the sky!. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mrjaype says:

    Father, the universe can push and pull but it cannot suck.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    If this election continues in the wrong direction I may paddle toward it. A black hole is starting to sound good. I’m kind of kidding.

  3. Fulco One Eye says:

    Considering the HUGE amount of angular momentum we have way out here on the fringes of our galaxy, the time frame for our collapse into Sag A is ….. very far off.

  4. Fulco One Eye says:

    In fact, it is, well, forever — Because the Sun is in a stable orbit around the galaxy and should continue that way well beyond the Sun’s projected lifetime. It would take a very unexpected (since it has been in this stable orbit for so long) errant body passing by the Sun to shift its orbital parameters to put it on a more immediate course so that it would eventually be captured by the mass in the center of the galaxy. I am sure Pope Francis would agree that it’s sometimes good to be on the fringes.

  5. Chrysologos says:

    Is the ‘bad news’ really that bad? 25,800ly is no distance at all on a galactic scale but still a fair way to go in earthly terms
    The black hole also must surely be in orbit around the galactic centre and the question arises whether we are in fact getting any closer to the hole. Even if we are, it would still take many hundreds of thousands of years before we would be affected adversely.
    Anyway, we know this present earth is not destined to last for ever.

  6. iamlucky13 says:

    “Even if we are, it would still take many hundreds of thousands of years before we would be affected adversely.”

    The time scale is actually in the tens of billions of years range or longer, I believe, for the solar system to continue orbiting our galaxy. Although we could get ejected from our current orbit by the pending “collision” with the Andromeda Galaxy in 4-5 billion years.

    In the meantime, our sun will slowly heat up and expand as it ages. In about 2 billion years, it will be completely uninhabitable, and our oceans will have boiled away. The warming of the sun will continue until the earth’s surface is entirely lava.

    Somewhere around 12 billion years from now, the sun may have puffed up enough that the earth would actually be moving through the chromosphere as it orbits. Drag from this would gradually slow the earth down. It would be completely destroyed as it falls inward.

  7. Chrysologos says:

    Hi Fulco One Eye, I think the black hole of which Fr Z writes is one of the many which abound, one which is “in your path”, not the one at the centre of our galaxy.

  8. MO-Knight says:

    Am I reading this correctly that we are toast in just under 500 years? 2000 LY every 40 years, and 26k LY left to go?

  9. Chrysologos says:

    Hi M0-Knight, I used ‘ly’ as abbreviation for light years, an expression of distance as also indicated within the context of the sentence. Apologies if the abbreviation was incorrect.

  10. MO-Knight says:

    Hi, Chrysologos, I mean we are apparently 26,000 light years away, but we got 2,000 light years closer in the past 40 years, so it seems to me we only have 13 40-year blocks of time left.

  11. Chrysologos says:

    Hi M0-Knight, according to your reckoning our closing speed to the black hole is 50 times the speed of light. Interesting.

  12. MO-Knight says:

    Hi, Chrysologos. The article Fr. Z links to states this:

    Don’t be too much of a Johnny Raincloud about the bad news. We’re still 25,800 light years away from Sagittarius A, which – if we ever get there – will utterly obliterate us.
    Then again, that’s 2,000 light years closer than we were in 1985. Gulp.

    That’s what’s got me wondering. Perhaps they mistyped? Or am I misunderstanding what he means by 2,000 light years closer than in 1985. I hear what you’re saying. So, what’s up with his statement?

  13. Chrysologos says:

    Hello M0-Knight, many thanks for referring me back to the original article which hitherto I had not read. I see whence gravely you have been misled.
    “Then again, that’s 2,000 light years closer than we were in 1985.”
    This statement by Dan Calabrese, made without any supporting reasoning, is utter nonsense without any basis in truth. In language more akin to saloon than salon, it issues forth from where the sun definitely does not shine!

  14. Missouri Knight says:

    Hello, Chrysologos. Got it. Probably an off-the-cuff attempt by him to be humorous.
    I got a chuckle over your last statement: “it issues forth from where the sun definitely does not shine!”
    He must be messaging from the black hole itself – doesn’t he know he’s being dense? :-)

Comments are closed.