odalisques in space

Last week the owl posted my dream about outer-space:  click to listen.  We’ve been talking a lot about space here in the obelisk.  The birds think I am too sheltered.  They nag me to go to the shore.  I  distracted them with hats, but fashion bores birds as quickly as it does people (I’m so glad I don’t wear clothes!), so I’ve devised a new strategy…I am regaling them with tales of outer-space.

Little did the birds know of heights that are not sunny or blue!  Of regions too vacuous for sheltering clouds!  Of volumes so vast our sun–which could hold one million earths–is but a miniscule, ordinary prick of light!   Little did they know that odalisques in ships of the imagination can zoom far beyond the flight of birds, into outer-space!

It is my favorite place to go when things get rough for me here on earth.

astrolisque

astrolisque

I tell the birds of strange  phenomenon: impotent white giants, doomed red dwarves…

A star's spectacular death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth as the supernova of 1054 A.D. Now, almost a thousand years later, a superdense neutron star left behind by the stellar death is spewing out a blizzard of extremely high-energy pa

crab nebula shooting x-rays

I have not yet told them about the dangerously attractive black holes:

Black holes are one of the most intriguing and mysterious of all astrophysical phenomena.  while astrophysical theory has long supported the existence of black holes, it has been hard to fathom an object that is so incredibly dense that nothing, not even light itself, can escape its grasp.

Black holes are intense and powerfully attractive.   It is good astrolisque practice to steer clear of them.  This can be difficult as black holes are invisible.  Mere light-seconds after you feel an intense attraction towards nothingness, you find yourself spiraling towards an oppressive, inescapable doom.  The savvy astrolisque must be wary:

How does one go about locating an object that can’t be directly observed?…this can be accomplished by observing the effects that a black hole has on its surroundings.

Whenever you see a celestial object moving in an odd way…beware!  It is probably under the influence of an invisible black hole!  This celestial object was moving fast enough to not fall in…but you may not be so lucky!  Nor do you want its fate to befall you:  aeons in perturbed orbit around an obliterating absence?  No astrolisque desires sinister stasis!

There’s nothing an astrolisque can do about a gravitational field that overwhelms all other forces in the universe, funneling space-time into its own interminable darkness.   There is nothing an astrolisque can do about astronomical facts.

But she can use astronomical facts to her advantage.  Basic physics tells us that an astrolisque traveling with enough speed through the cosmos will never ever be trapped by a black hole.  The astrolisque must prepare herself for space travel with a lightening quick imagination.  She must craft her coat to spirit her swiftly on breezes of suggestive thought.

What happens if an astrolisque is sucked into a black hole?  Time drags.  The astrolisque’s bottom is stretched out of proportion to her head, at least until she reaches the black hole’s interior singularity–a volume-less place of infinite density, where time ceases and she is squashed into one dull dimension.

Beyond the singularity, results vary.  One astrolisque came-to in an alternate saddle-shaped topology in which she was saddled with a mini-van, 2.5 kids, and a closet of unending despair.  Another astrolisque resurfaced in an inverse universe where everything switched sign: her positives became negatives, and vice-versa, causing an crisis of morality which could only be resolved by quaffing moonshine.  Another  leapt into black hole after black hole, each time desperately hoping things would turn out different.  He eventually became a black hole himself.

These are your average black holes.  But there are super-massive black holes that are not sinisterly invisible…they emit tremendous amounts of energy and light (including radio waves, which I pick up in my sleep).  They are the brightest objects in the universe.

artist-s rendition of an optically violent variable quasar, with nearby astrolisque

artist rendering of a quasar, with nearby astrolisque

I’ll talk more about quasi-stellar radio sources some other time.

These tales discombobulate the birds.  Their spirits are dampened, and they can’t soar carefreely through the sky.  They are afraid their wings will carry them through some unseen membrane of blue, into inhospitable outer-space.

I assure them that they can’t possibly fly that high…they would soon suffocate from a lack of oxygen and fall back down to earth.

This does not comfort them.

Astronomical facts are not for everyone.

–The Odalisque

Black hole quotes here.
Space images from NASA.gov

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About The Odalisque

I am the odalisque who lives in an oblelisk. I converse with birds.

converse. carrier pigeon post.

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