Times- Enterprise columnist to lecture on Black Holes at Pebble Hill

Jun. 6—THOMASVILLE- The Learning Center on the grounds of Pebble Hill Plantation will host a program by local author Randy Rhea on black holes.

The program is open to the public and will be held from 7-9 p.m. on June 15th. Rhea stated "I'm often asked about black holes by curious friends, so a program on that subject is overdue." Without using advanced math or science, Rhea will explain black holes.

The program is open to adults and students ages 12 and older accompanied by a parent.

Isaac Newton first realized mass attracts mass.

"We are attracted to the Earth by this gravitational force. If the Earth were more massive, we would weigh more," Rhea explained.

Massive black holes produce a gravitational field so strong that nothing can escape them, not even light. Black holes were imagined late in the 18th century and in 1916, Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted them. They seemed so exotic that even Einstein felt something would prevent them from forming.

However, in 1971, astronomers found a mysterious object in the constellation Cygnus that emitted X-rays. By 1973, most astronomers agreed it was a black hole. The number of identified black holes is growing, and today the number approaches one hundred. A black hole resides in the center of the galaxy, the Milky Way. It is believed most large galaxies harbor black holes. If so, there are billions of black holes in the universe.

If light can't escape from black holes, how can astronomers see them? How do they form? How big are they? Are they a portal to another universe? Do black holes swallow other objects? Rhea will cover these and other interesting properties of black holes in the Pebble Hill program.

Rhea previously presented astronomy programs at Pebble Hill. He stated "I love working with Pebble Hill. The Learning center is ideally suited for small and informal group learning. This presentation focuses on black holes, and you'll find it interesting even if you attended one of my previous Pebble Hill programs. Questions are encouraged, and after the program, you'll have a better understanding of black holes."

Randy Rhea is the author of the book Astronomy is Heavenly available at the Bookshelf and on Amazon. He writes a monthly astronomy column for the Thomasville Times, has written for Sky & Telescope magazine, and has given many presentations on astronomy. In 1996, he and his wife Marilynn purchased the University of Denver's observatory on Mt. Evans in Colorado and moved it near their cabin in New Mexico. He has also authored five engineering text books and many technical papers. He and Marilynn live in Thomasville and have two grown children and five grandchildren.

Registration for the black hole program is $20 for adults and $10 for students. To register, please visit For more information about the Learning Center, please contact the program coordinator, Kitty Spivey,, or telephone her at 229-226-2344. For questions about the program content, please contact Randy Rhea at