We can all agree that the bizarre and unusual hold a particular fascination in our consciousness, and that danger and disaster grab our attention. Certainly that has something to do with the public interest in black holes. What could be more sinister than an object that swallows up anything that gets too near, its victims never to be seen or heard of again? Shrouded in mystery and darkness, this monster both attracts and repels us, as if we were seated in a movie theater watching a horror flick.
Really, though, those monsters remain hidden and probably claim very few victims. True, there may be a black hole at the center of almost every galaxy, but compared to the hundreds of billions of normal objects, these denizens are extremely rare. Astronomers have direct evidence of only a handful of such objects in our galaxy. One look at the myriad stars that populate the sky on a dark night will convince you that the chances of a black hole jumping out of the bushes are almost nonexistant.
A far more mysterious substance may stalk our every move, though. Where is the dark matter that astronomers think outnumbers normal matter by a factor of at least 10 to 1? Do you have any better guesses after having studied it? Won't it be fun to keep tabs on the ongoing research into this tantalizing question? We are so lucky to be alive in this exciting golden age of astronomy.