Welcome to 2019, Dear Reader. The human race is another year older… but are we any wiser?
Looking around, we see little evidence to support such a claim. Instead, the news is brimming with the standard inanities of our time.
Pending government shutdown… rollercoaster stock markets… raging trade wars… political muckraking… celebrities behaving like narcissistic toddlers, while scores of panting epsilons at home lap up every hot, sweaty minute.
All the usual highlights, in other words. And low-lights, too. Nothing in there that might alter the cosmic structure in any meaningful way.
Ah, but wait. Here’s something…
According to a paper published this week in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, our humble Milky Way galaxy appears to be on a collision course with one of its nearest satellites, a spiral of stars known as the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).
Impact could occur in as little as… 2 billion years (give or take).
So what does this mean, in local terms?
As Marius Cautun, lead author of the study at Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology, explained in a helpful statement...
“The destruction of the Large Magellanic Cloud, as it is devoured by the Milky Way, will wreak havoc with our galaxy.”
By “havoc,” Mr. Cautun refers to the black hole at the center of our Milky Way consuming (literally) astronomical quantities of gas and stars, causing it to swell to perhaps 8 times its present size and potentially turning into a quasar – one of the brightest objects in the universe, created when supermassive black holes inhale cosmic matter at near light speed.
And yet, even with all the heavenly pyrotechnics overhead, researches predict risk to life here on earth is “very unlikely.”
Don’t worry, though. Scientists assure us that, long before then, the sun will have boiled the earth’s oceans, wiping out all traceable forms of life, celebrity and otherwise.
So don’t let the news get you down. No one here gets out alive!
And with that, welcome to a new year.
Joel Bowman for International Man