Happy Thanksgiving in the US! I've been shopping for a water fountain to put in the new home, so today's news is aprropriate.
This blog has made many reports on Enceladus, Saturn's mysterious moon with its South polar hot spot. In today's issue of NATURE, a team led by Candice Hansen of JPL reports that particles ejected from the hot spot reach speeds of 2100 km/hr, twice the speed of sound. Hansen's team concludes that the fountain is liquid. As seeen in the video, Earth geysers are also made of water. This is another indicator that Enceladus is home to liquid and possibly life.
Back in December 007, Jennifer Meyer's AGU talk asserted that Enceladus' 6.0 GW internal heat can not be accounted for by tidal forces. The conventional estimate from tidal heating is only 0.12 GW. The old hypothesis or "radioactive decay" does not work for these icy moons. Why is Enceladus warm enough for life, and why is the heat concentrated at the pole? The little moon's interior is an excellent place to find a Black Hole.
Humans fear Black Holes as they once feared cats and dogs, yet a tiny Hole within Enceladus may have created conditions for life. Our planet and even the Sun may not have formed without the influence of Black Holes. One could still be with us today, warming Earth's core and generating the magnetic field that protects us from Space radiation. On future Thanksgiving days, perhaps we should be thankful for Black Holes.