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25 Mind-Boggling Facts About The Universe That Will Make You Wonder If we Are Really Alone Here

10. That there is a strange hypothesized matter called dark matter that takes up 84.5% of the Universe and we aren’t completely sure what is it and we can’t detect them.

Dark Matter
Image source: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov

In the 1960s and 1970s, astronomers hypothesized that there might be more mass to the universe as against commonly held information. This invisible but existent mass came to be known as Dark matter. Dark matter has been assumed to make up 80 percent of the universe. Scientists, astronomers and physicists alike have been pondering over the research and a possible explanation of Dark energy and Dark matter for years. The familiar material of the universe, known as baryonic matter, is composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Dark matter may be made of baryonic or non-baryonic matter. To hold the elements of the universe together, dark matter must make up approximately 80 percent of its matter. (1, 2)

9. Gamma-ray bursts. Every once and a while a dying star will let off a concentrated beam of gamma radiation. If it hit the earth, it’d kill just about everything. Since the radiation travels at the speed of light, there’d be literally no warning.

Gamma-ray bursts are high-powered beams of gamma radiations that are emitted when the core of a massive star collapses to form a black hole. These gamma radiations can produce raw energy greater than what Sun can produce in its entire lifetime. The beams are extremely energetic and can destroy everything in its path, although these have to be aimed at an object directly. Talking about Earth, if these Gamma beams did hit Earth, they may as well cause a mass extinction of human race or even a short burst of these radiations lasting for a mere 10 seconds would pulverize 25% of our Ozone layer thereby, sending Ultraviolet rays in enormous quantities to Earth. (Source)

8. The fastest spinning neutron star found yet is a pulsar. At its equator, it is spinning at approximately 24% of the speed of light or over 70,000 km per second.

neutron
Image Credits: Zellfaze via Wikimedia

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope have discovered the fastest spinning neutron star ever found with a 20-mile-diameter. The neutron star pulsar is 28000 light years away in a cluster of 10-billion-year-old stars called Terzan 5 in the constellation of Sagittarius which scientists have classified as PSR J1748-2446ad. At its equator, the star is spinning at approximately 24% of the speed of light or over 70,000 km per second. (1, 2)

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7. The moon is drifting away from the Earth.

moon drifting away
Image Credits: pixabay

Every year the moon moves about 3.8cm further away from the Earth. The Earth and the Moon pull at each other with their gravity. Their shapes get distorted and the pull of this tidal force creates a bulge. This bulge is steadily slowing down the earth’s rotation which means that energy is being lost by Earth and that energy is getting transferred to the Moon resulting in an increase in its rotation. Now, the faster something orbits, the farther it gets from the object it is orbiting. (1, 2)

6. Deepest multi-color image of the universe has been generated using the Hubble Space Telescope; The image shows 13.2 billion years old galaxies and is a combined total of over 2000 separate images.

Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF)
Image source: upload.wikimedia.org

Astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope have created a multi-colored image of the universe that is a combined total of 2,000 different images and the total exposure is a whopping two million seconds or 23 days. The image is known as Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) which shows galaxies from 13.2 billion years ago. The faintest star in the image is ten billion times brighter. (1, 2)

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