マイト・ガイ or, The Power of Mysterious Dark Matter
I love any story which begins like this:
Astronomers peering far back in time through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope have detected a group of infant galaxies being thrust together by the power of mysterious dark matter when the universe was young.
I mean, really, who doesn’t love “being thrust together by the power of mysterious dark matter” as a youth? It’s what Guy Sensei (aka マイト・ガイ) from the Leaf Village might call the ‘passion of youth’ or some other seemingly absurd yet entirely appropriate phrase. Although I must admit, I find it a bit hard to easily conjure up an image of the universe as an infant. I’m not sure if Tobi’s Jikūkan Idō (時空間移動) jutsu or Kakashi’s Kamui (神威) jutsu or Kikunae Ikeda’s discovery of umami (うま味) get at this same sort of mysterious kind of force, but they seem like as good a candidate as any. It also reminds me of a comment made by Madara to the Nine Tails (九尾の妖狐, Kyūbi no Yōko) demon f0x:
Nine-Tails, you are merely a momentary life, a temporary existence of coalesced energy… energy that once was a single, ultimate form!
That sort of sounds like a description of a conversation between an infant universe and an even older dark matter, right? Or arch rivals in a manga series. What’s the difference, really, when you’re learning about dark matter from a manga guide to the universe?! I mean, really, it all blurs together these days–science, fiction, fact, reality. Which is more real: science fiction or reality tv? After all, the story that sparked this, concerning the discovery of a protocluster of galaxies thought to date close to the Big Bang, are themselves almost impossible to comprehend. As the article suggests, “the clustering occurred only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang which began the entire universe some 13.7 billion years ago, according to current cosmological theory.” 13.7 billion years ago–imagine doing the budget planning for that kind of long-term construction project! Zoinks.
Ok, maybe my manga references aren’t quite spot on for such deep astronomical ruminations, but I always love seeing how far I can run with these pop culture analogies. I mean seriously, have you ever looked at the many amazing Hubble images, like this one of some crazy green space gas that has everybody all excited:
My point being, there are some really cool things in the universe that we are just starting to get even the slightest glimmer of, and the idea of “a group of infant galaxies being thrust together by the power of mysterious dark matter when the universe was young” sure makes you wonder what in the heck was going on back then, whenever exactly then was.
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of just how small our world is, and how big this universe truly is. Look up at the image above again. Ok. Now dig this: that cool little greenish blob is the size of our Milky Way galaxy. That’s right, the whole frickin’ galaxy! Wild, isn’t it.
Until next time…42.