What do we really know about the universe?

When one of my grandsons was 7 years old, he was interested in my collection of photos of galaxies and other objects in the sky. The scenes were most colourful. One scene showed a beam of light coming out of what was described as a black hole. His immediate response was “ Nothing can come out of a black hole.” I explained that the light must have been visible, but that the so-called black hole was something that scientists had imagined. Since he is a bright lad, I went on to say that objects like black holes are inferred, in order to explain certain events; and that they may not exist at all.

The current theory is that no particles can escape the so-called event horizon of a black hole. But, would light, in its waveform, be unable to escape? Further, I pointed out that the vocabulary of the stakeholders in cosmology is profoundly as exotic as is the language of academic philosophers; and that media persons may simplify their descriptions to enable us ordinary folks to glimpse, if not to grasp, that which is being discussed.

But then, as with the Big Bang theory of cosmogony, writers for public consumption may portray theories – which are tentative and transient – as proven fact. Currently, we are flooded with wormholes linking (possible) multiple universes and, worse still, that (as also claimed recently by some spiritualists I met) there a number of each one of us in the multiverse Cosmos. Dear me! How many carbon copies can there be? Could some of me be silicon-based?

An important question – are the colours depicted on photographs of galaxies actually visible, or are they painted – on the basis of frequencies (of vibration) captured through non-visible means? That is, in the dark of space, is there visible colour?