(Originally written Monday, May 22, 2006)
Greetings all and welcome to another installment of Ask Doctor Gooch! featuring this reality's most intelligent scientist and everybody's favorite smart guy: Dr. Gooch.
In this installment Dr. Gooch will be answering your questions about the universe. Black stars, dwarf stars, distant galaxies; nothing is beyond the realm of Dr. Gooch's knowledge.*
1. Dr. Gooch, what are stars made of, and why do they shine at night?
Though this is a two-part question, it's actually quite simple. It has been common knowledge for several, ummm, minutes that stars are actually just holes in the black fabric of space. You see, if you've ever taken a piece of black construction paper and poked holes in it and held it in front of a light, you've probably noticed that the light shines through paper and right into your dumb eyes. Well the universe is made up the exact same way, except without the paper. So far, we have yet to see what is on the other side of those holes but the Lithuanian space program has been working very hard on breaching that barrier one day.
2. Doc, what is a "black hole?" If I go through one, what would happen?
A black hole is not actually a hole, (unlike stars) they are actually protrusions. We smart, scientist-like guys over in universities and whatnot like to call them "the shaving bumps of the universe." These bumps cause strange ripples and eddies in the space/time thingy. Because of these ripples black holes seem like holes or tunnels. But they're not! And anybody who says otherwise is a dirty, dirty liar.
Anyway, were you to encounter a black hole you would successfully be transported through time. I have actually been in a space ship that has gone through one of these holes, (even though it wasn't a hole. Were I to try and explain how we did it, your puny, non-genius head would explode into thousands of tiny, wet, stupid bits!) Suffice it to say we went through one and had an amazing adventure in a world full of nymphomanic-zombie-robot-dinosaur-ghosts. But that's a story for another time.
3. Just how big is the universe anyway?
Really big, like Alaska. But bigger. You could fit about 20 Alaskas inside the universe and still have enough space left over for a Rhode Island and half of Delaware.
4. Dr. Gooch, how many galaxies are in the universe?
Excellent question. Let me put to rest right now any rumors you might have been hearing about there being millions of billions of galaxies with even more planets. That's bullhockey. As far as we accredited and serious professors of varied intellectual pursuits are concerned, there's only a hand-full of galaxies whose existence we can confirm. The most well-known of these galaxies are of course, the Milky Way, the Almond Joy, the Whatchamacalit, the Charleston Chew and oddly enough, the Everlasting Gobstopper. The lesser known galaxies are Alpha Centauri, Beetleguise, Homestar Runner and the Transfugal Hyperchondrical Blutangdrion. This last galaxy imploded on itself eons ago. It was a galaxy far, far away and it ended a long time ago.
5. How long has the universe existed, and how long will it continue to exist?
This question has been pondered for many years, but recent developments have led to new discoveries. With the invention of the Flux Capacitor we can use our telescopes to look through time. And I have to say, what we saw was very shocking. It seems as though the universe was created, as near as we can tell, December 8th, 1979. That makes absolutely no sense, I know, but it's true. Such is the wonderful and totally unfathomable nature of reality.
Those are all the questions we have time for this time. Join us next time, when Dr. Gooch again panders to ignorant masses. Plus, special guest appearance by the late Don Knotts.
All this and more on Ask Doctor Gooch!
*For the purists out there, and those without a sense of humor, let me lay it out for you here: The answers are jokes and are in no way supposed to be taken as true. Unless you want to, in which case, you should know I just got a call from Santa Claus. He and the Easter Bunny wanted to invite you to play doubles tennis on the moon with the Tooth Fairy.