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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating View of the Universe, August 18, 2012
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This review is from: Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos (Kindle Edition)
This book is a fascinating view of the universe, including our part of it. The book focuses on "black holes" those parts of the universe that are the most dense and the most energy productive. Every galaxy, including the Milky Way, our galaxy, has a black hole in the middle of it. Around the black hole, there exists the most concentrated grouping of stars which in many instances are "buzzing around the black hole" at tremendous speeds and then circle around the black hole until they are swallowed by it, much like a drain does with water. When this happens, an explosion occurs and energy is released in the form of radioactive gas, protons and neutrons that spews out thousands of light years into the universe.

These are called black holes because they appear that way in the universe because they are so dense that no light escapes from them. They are billions of times more dense and powerful than our sun. Since there at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe with at least 100 billion stars in each (think about those numbers, they are mind boggling), there are least that number of black holes. These black holes perform a key role in the universe creating and re-creating the universe through the creation and destruction of stars and galaxies.

Most of the book is spent discussing the exploration of these monsters, both nearby (our galaxy and others within millions of light years from us) to billions of light years away. The author mentions one galaxy and black hole that he was involved in the discovery of that is 12 billion light years away from us. (The interesting thing is that they found this galaxy and black hole as it looked 12 billion years ago...) A picture is shown of these and other galaxies with their black holes in their middle.

It just happens that our galaxy and black hole are just right for life. The black hole in the middle of the Milky Way galaxy is hungry, destroying and creating a couple of stars each year, but not too destructive. This results in positive change in our galaxy that supports life on its fringes where our Sun and earth exist. The author goes into some detail on this explaining how important this is to life on earth.

At the end, the author actually gets somewhat poetic, and the prose is very uplifting and positive. The universe is a beautiful creation and these monsters, black holes, are key to the creation and continuation of this beauty. The pictures in the book just increase the value of the writing and thoughts provided. In fact, I like this book so much, that after purchasing the Kindle version, I plan on buying the hard copy (only the 2nd time this year that I have done that), so that I can offer this to others to read. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the universe and astronomy.
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Location: GURNEE, ILLINOIS USA

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