There are some unbelievable things that occur in Space and the wider Universe!
Imagine Neuron Stars so fast that they devour everything any anything that crosses their path, clouds that literally smell of fruits and enormous collections of galaxies.
What will follow below are some of the most interesting things you can find in our cosmos.
The universe is enormous, fascinating and full of secrets.
With a history that is billions of years old, there are still millions of things that are yet to be discovered!
In this article, you will learn 10 gobsmacking things that are currently known in space and the wider universe.
Ten Interesting Facts about Space and the Universe
Ten: Black Widow
Mating is a dangerous endeavour for a male black widow spider since there’s a high chance that the female will devour them while mating.
This is why in 1988 when scientists discovered a Pulsar that appeared to devour a nearby star they named it the Black Widow Pulsar!
A Pulsar of this kind is a Neutron Star that rotates at about 600 times per second and emits electromagnetic radiation.
The Black Widow Pulsar orbits a Brown Dwarf Star and it completes the orbit in just over nine hours! So it’s basically a super-fast spinning star. Now this sounds really exciting right? But bear in mind that the Black Widow Pulsar is slowly killing its Brown Dwarf counterpart.
The high energy emissions and wind of the Pulsar hack away at the Dwarfs material and will eventually consume it entirely.
Scientific calculations predict that the Brown Dwarf will be obliterated in around a billion years, and the energy will be transferred over to the Pulsar (just like a Black Widow Spider!)
Nine: Massive Sun
Do you know how big the Sun is in comparison to our Earth?
When you look up at the Sun, it looks quite small from anywhere that you stand.
The radius of the Earth is 3,963 miles from the equator.
The Sun is 846,400 hundred miles across!
If the Sun was like an empty ball – how many planet Earth’s do you think you could fit inside?
You could fit 1.3 million earths inside the Sun!
The Sun accounts for 99.86% of the of the mass of the solar system.
The two largest planets in our solar system – Jupiter and Saturn, make up most of the remaining .14%.
So now you have an idea of how big the Sun!
Eight: Raspberry Cloud
390 light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy we find an massive cloud called Sagittarius b2.
And when we say massive we mean it – it is over 100 light-years wide.
But why is there so much interest in this cloud? This is because it is known to taste of the berry fruit raspberries and it also smells like the Alcoholic Beverage Rum.
This is because Sagittarius b2 contains a huge amount of a chemical compound called Ethyl Formate.
When you mix Ethanol with Formic Acid you get Ethyl Formate which is an Ester.
Esters are known as smell molecules and they provide strong floral fruit and wine smells. This is what causes the raspberry taste.
But what about that Rum smell? Well the first Ethanol ever found in space was located in 1975. This massive cloud contains billions of litres of alcohol.
This ethanol is mixed with a dozen other compounds including Propyl Cyanide which can be lethal to humans.
Saturn has always stood out with its characteristic rings. Scientists believe that only planets could have rings until they encountered the rings of Chariklo in 2013.
Just past Saturn scientists found a tiny Asteroid with two rings of its own.
Chariklo is considered a Centaur – the mysterious nature of the small celestial bodies located between Jupiter and Neptune that have the characteristics of Asteroids or Comets.
Scientists continue to study Chariklo but for now it remains a complete mystery as the purpose of the tiny rings remains uncertain.
Six: Himiko Cloud
When it was announced in 2009, the Himiko Cloud couldn’t really be understood or identified. At first, it looked like small blob on what appeared to be a low quality picture.
Scientists began to investigate more into the cloud and they used a Telescope in Hawaii to gather more data.
They discovered that the Himiko cloud existed at a time when the universe was just 800 million years old.
The universe is 13.8 billion years old right now so the Himiko cloud comes from a time when the universe was just a baby.
It is the most massive object found in the early universe – so massive that it contains the mass of roughly 40 billion Suns!
Himiko was named after a legendary and mysterious Japanese Queen and the Himiko cloud is also a mystery. It is the first glimpse scientists have had of the early formation of galaxies.
Five: Black Holes!
Black holes represent a very tight and dense area of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can get out.
Black holes range from small, as large as an atom to supermassive.
Nearly all galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes that are from a million to a billion times the mass of our Sun.
In 2011, astronomers discovered one of the biggest black holes in existence when they found one in the NGC 38:42 galaxy. (Don’t worry this black hole is really far away).
The NGC 38:42 galaxy is located in the Coma Cluster – more than 320 million light years away. The black hole there has the mass of nine point seven billion suns and is 2500 times bigger than the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
Four: El Gordo (The Fat One)
El Gordo (which means the the fat one in Spanish) is the name of the most enormous grouping of galaxies ever found in the distant universe.
Remember that we can only see so far into the universe because the light from distant objects takes time to travel back to us. The area that we can see is called the observable universe.
The distant universe is a location for objects that reside on the edges of the observable universe, and that’s where El Gordo is located – more than seven billion light-years from Earth.
It contains the mass of three million billion suns and is the product of two galaxy clusters. It
is also the hottest and brightest galaxy cluster known to us. To make matters more intense, the clusters are in the process of colliding at millions of miles per hour.
Three: Music and Art in Space
When NASA was set to launch the space probes Voyager 1 and 2 in 1977 they got an idea.
They wanted to transmit information about life on Earth to any extra-terrestrials if they were to find the Probe so they created the Golden Record.
They used a 12 inch phonograph record with a gold-plated copper disc and loaded it with sounds and images to portray life on Earth.
The Golden Record includes greetings in more than 50 languages, images of human anatomy, diverse sounds and nearly 90 minutes of music (by Louis Armstrong and Chuck Berry among other music artists).
Amazingly both Probes are still communicating with NASA and have operated for almost 41 years. They are the spacecraft that are more distant from Earth than any other. There’s still time before Voyager 1 stops working, so maybe we’ll hear back from extra-terrestrials.
To date we haven’t had any responses…that we know of!
Two: Orphans of the Universe
Planets are usually found orbiting a star, but it’s a lonesome existence for a planet called CFBDSIR 2149-0403. That’s a tough one to remember, so we will refer to it as CF.
Astronomers discovered the rogue planet wandering alone in 2012. The planet is just 100 light years away from Earth and it’s a gas giant four to seven times bigger than Jupiter.
Rogue planets end up alone in the cosmos when they are kicked out or ejected from their planetary systems. CF was the closest planet found at the time but more have shown up since.
In 2016 scientists discovered another rogue planet just 20 light-years from Earth.
Although the surface temperature on this new planet is over 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, it must be a cold and lonesome existence for this rogue planet!
One: Black Hole in the Milky Way
The center of the Milky Way holds a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A.
It is located 2,600 light-years from Earth and has a mass 4 million times bigger than our Sun.
Scientists believe that it was unlikely that the black hole was there by itself and they were right!
In 2018 a team headed by Columbia University’s astrophysics lab analyzed NASA data collected over 12 years and discovered that there are 300 to 500 additional black holes close to Sagittarius A. And about 10,000 black holes in the vicinity!
Since black holes are invisible and the only way of knowing they are there is to look at how matter reacts in a specific location, it is difficult for researchers to find them.
Scientists have only just started to discover the holes in space-time that point to the existence of black holes. And in the future we can count on many more being discovered.
Do you know of any other interesting things in space or the universe? Tell us in the comments section below!
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.