The true story of why cosmologists around the world are shifting their gaze from the heavens to the White House.
Most people are familiar with the concept of black holes. A black hole is one outcome of the Einstein field equations: a point in spacetime that is so gravitationally intense that the normal laws of physics cease to operate.
A black hole exerts so much gravitational attraction that surrounding spacetime flows toward it, a little bit like water flowing down a drain. The event horizon of a black hole (formally known as the Schwarzschild radius) is the point beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape. This is why they are called black holes: light can fall in but it can’t come back out again. So there’s literally nothing to see.
Black holes absorb everything around them: spacetime, gas, planets, stars, other black holes. They are nature’s vacuum cleaner, absorbing literally everything including the virtual particles that momentarily pop in and out of existence in empty space (the so-called vacuum energy of space).
Now it’s important to understand that one of the fundamental realities of physics is that nearly everything is symmetrical. For matter there is anti-matter, for the electron we have the positron, and so on. Even time is, from a mathematical perspective, symmetric.
Therefore it should be no surprise to anyone that a joint team of scientists from NASA and ESA have recently discovered the counterpart of black holes. The big surprise is that they discovered this phenomenon right here on Earth.
Normally we’d expect an obvious symmetry whereby black holes have their opposite as white holes. But scientists are 100% confident that the newly discovered phenomenon should be called an Orange Hole. Furthermore, just as the supermassive black hole at the center of our own galaxy is called Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sag-A-Prime) so the newly discovered phenomenon has been labeled the Orange Prime A-Hole. This naming scheme is under dispute, however, with several teams of European scientists pressing hard for Terminally Retarded Unstable Mini-Phenomenon.
At the time of writing this article it is unclear which terminology will ultimately become common usage.