The very first ever picture of a black hole has been published. Something which Einstein posited as a theoretical object a century ago has now been literally seen by human eyes (well, via their radio telescopes and a lot of data wrangling) in a magnificent triumph of human intellect and ingenuity.
And because it is 2019 the internet is asking the big question: could a dude put his penis in it?
And the answer is no. No, you could not.
The reasons are many.
One is that M87*, the black hole in question, is 55 million light years away which is way beyond the abilities of any Earth-residing hound for space-poon to traverse.
It’s also supermassive, in that the event horizon (the swirly glowing visible bit) is significantly larger than our entire solar system, so even the most well-endowed would find it a cosmically loose fit.
To be fair, those would be the least of your worries if you got there. That radiation alone would cancerfy you before you got your pants off and wangs sporting sudden eruptions of cracks and lesions tend to be rejected by most self-respecting would-be partners.
For those unfamiliar with what a black hole actually is, it’s an object so massive that the escape velocity from its surface (ie: the speed you need to be travelling at to overcome gravity) is greater than the speed of light. That’s why they’re black: not even light can leave it.
They come in many sizes, from tiny short-lived ones to the common ones formed by the death of giant stars to the supermassive ones in the centres of galaxies. We’re still not sure how galactic black holes are created, but most galaxies appear to have them (including our own: hi, Sagittarius A!).
None of them, however, are great for putting dicks in.
One common misconception which might explain Twitter’s whole penile penetration obsession is that they’re giant suck holes that insatiably deep throat the entire cosmos. That’s not the case.
It’s entirely possible that there are black holes with planets happily orbiting around them, just like we do with the sun: they’re just things with a hell of a lot of mass.
What does happen, however, is that there’s a point where if you’re too close to the black hole you will fall in, just like if you were an asteroid that came too close to Earth our planet’s gravity would pull you to the surface.
In a black hole that point is the aforementioned event horizon and it’s where the gas and dust and penises which are too close to the black hole tip over the edge and fall in.
Here on Earth our ocean tides go up and down because of the gravity of the Moon pulling a bit harder on the bit of our planet closest to it relative to the far away side.
Similarly, when you’re super close to an event horizon hole the tip of your erection would be closer to the black hole, and therefore affected more by its gravity, than your ballsack, and the result is that it would be torn to atoms in a process adorably called “spaghettification”.
You’d be very swiftly stretched out dick-first across the event horizon in a stream of super-accelerated particles made white-hot from friction before you even got to ask the black hole if they were finished yet and if they could call you an Uber.
All dick jokes aside, this photograph is a celebration of science, collaboration, and the gathering and disseminating of terabytes of data from multiple telescopes to finally resolve this blurry yet freakin’ incredible photo.
It’s also making a star of Katie Bouman, the computer scientist who did the data juggling, and another neat reminder of the kickarse women of science.
But also, if you do happen to find a way to span the vast stellar distances to blow that most cosmic of loads, do wear a condom.
Better safe than sorry, huh?