I Love Pancakes…Even Galactic Ones.

Let’s face it, there is nothing better for breakfast that a stack of pancakes.  Or as Homer Simpson might say, mmmmmmmm pancakes (with the appropriate amount of drool).

Image: Hubble eyes galaxy as flat as a pancake

But pancakes are more than just a breakfast delight, they are the shape of most galaxies that we view.


Even our own Milkyway is mostly pancake shaped.

So why is this?  It turns out that pancakes are a natural phenomenon due to the to conservation of angular momentum.

Angular momentum happens when your local pizzeria tosses the dough into the air while spinning it.  The blob that formed the original dough starts to flatten out and move slower, forming the familiar disk shape.

As you might guess, continually tossing the dough around and adding more energy would eventually cause the dough to fly apart.  So what is keeping all the stars from flinging out into intergalactic space?

Turns out that those pesky supermassive black holes at the center of the galaxies, keep pulling the stars back in, trying to reform that blob.

So the next time you want pancakes, take a second to admire physics at work as the batter spreads evenly outward waiting for your favorite toppings to make a perfect dish.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


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