Going on a 9 hour long flight can get you thinking Earth is humongous and vast, but if you look further in outer space, you’ll start feeling like a mere speck of dust in a mindbogglingly large universe. As expected, the universe has no shortage of little oddities that not only astronauts will find interesting. Check out this top 10 anomalies in the universe that will get you thinking about life like you never did before.
10. The Hypervelocity Stars
If you thought the Sun was big and hot, you should know there are bigger, hotter stars out there. And one of their favorite things for them to do is rocket through space with an incredibly fast speed. To break it down and make it more easy to understand, imagine a binary star system that is being devoured by a black hole. The result is that one of the two is consumed, leaving the other to be shot away at an unimaginable high speed.
9. Gl 581 c
No, that’s not the name of a new smartphone, but it’s short for Gliese 581 c, which is a planet that orbits a red dwarf, Glieses 581. The latter is smaller than our Sun, meaning that GI 581 C is closer to its Sun than Earth is. This led to the planet being in tidal locking: one of its sides always faces the star, making the area unbearably hot, while the other side faces the other way and has freezing temperatures. In between these two extremes there is a small portion that could hypothetically hold life.
8. The Castor System
This is most likely going to sound like a description cut out from a Douglas Adams book, but here we go. The Castor System is made up of six start that orbit around a common central mass. The inhabitants of this cheery party are three binary star systems orbiting each other, 2 bright stars and four red dwarves.
The cloud dust that lies in the center of our Milky Way galaxy has puzzled scientists for some time now. Apparently, it smells like rum and tastes like raspberries, consisting mainly of ethyl formate. The only bad news is the propyl cyanide makes it inedible, so getting wasted out of space is still a few (light) years away.
6. Hot Ice
The distant cousin of the above mentioned Gliese 581 c, this planet is a living wonder. Named Gliese 436 b, it’s made solely out of ice and it’s as cool as… 439 degrees Celsius. So how does the ice manage to stay solid? The answer is the huge amount of water that is found on the planet. The gravity does, in fact, most of the job: it pulls all the water towards its core, so the molecules in the water become so dense they simply cannot escape, I mean evaporate.
5. Shine bright like a diamond!
It turns out the biggest diamond in the universe is this planet that is made out of crystalized diamond. Long story short, an ex star in a binary system was almost devoured by its loving partner, leaving the star unable to pull away its carbon core. This wonder planet, 55 Cancri, has a surface temperature of 1648 degrees, consisting of pure diamond, graphite and some other silicates.
4. The Himiko Cloud
Bearing the title of the most massive object in the whole wide universe, the Himiko Cloud’s birth was set at around 800 million years after the Big Bang. Offering an inkling into the primordial formation of galaxies, the Himiko Cloud is approximately half the size of the Milky Way, belonging to the “reionization” period.
3. The Oasis in the Universe
Get ready to read some figures that will make your mind hurt and cramp. Scientists have discovered the universe’s biggest water reservoir, which is a mere 12 billion light years away from your house. You’ve probably guessed it has more water than the Earth. More exactly, 140 trillion times more. This reservoir lies near an equally large black hole and manifests as a cloud of gas.
2. The Largest Electrical Current
What else can we find in this wondrous universe of ours? Electrical currents! This discovery was made a couple of years ago when scientists found a lightning measuring 10^18 amps. It is believed that it originated from a black hole in the center of the galaxy, whose magnetic field enables it to shoot this lightning bolt to a distance of 150,000 light years.
1. The Large Quasar Group
The cherry on the icing of the cake, it’s difficult to comprehend how far away and how vast the LQG is. To help you grasp its immensity, you should know our galaxy is 100,000 light years across, while the LQG is four billion light years across. This structure defies any standard astrophysics and has left scientists scratching their beard, wondering how it was formed.