10 Crazy Facts About Space
6 Uranus has 27 moons. All of these moons are named after the characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.
You’ll find the fairy “Titania” from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in space. Thanks to Sir William Herschel’s son, John Herschel, the 27 moons of Uranus are named after the characters from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Uranus’ moons are grouped into three categories: 13 inner moons, five large moons, and nine irregular moons. The five large moons are named Titania, Oberon, Miranda, Ariel, and Umbriel. Titania and Oberon are from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miranda from The Tempest, and Arial and Umbriel from Alexander Pope’s poem The Rape of the Lock.
John Herschel thought that instead of naming the moons after the characters of Greek mythology, it was better to name them after magical spirits in literature as Uranus is the god of sky and air. Except for three names that are taken from Pope’s poem, Ariel, Umbriel, and Belinda, all the 24 moons are named after characters from Shakespeare’s plays like Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, etc. (source)
7 It is very much possible for more than one universe to exist. Several other universes, called “multiverses” by physicists, can be out there. And technically, we may never be able to visit them.
Remember Stranger Things? Parallel dimensions can exist. So can parallel universes. Once called “fiction,” the idea of a parallel universe is now accepted by physicists, and some scientists have been entertaining the possibility. We cannot visit these universes or see or touch them. They could be “doppelgangers” of what we are or something entirely different.
Scientists have stated that a “multiverse” can exist in five ways:
a. The patchwork universe: The unobservable universe could be a completely different one. We could be an “island universe” and there might be many others.
b. The inflationary universe: The Big Bang could have happened more than once. There could be multiple universes being created and destroyed at different intervals of time.
c. Cosmic natural selection: Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics proposed a theory that universes may evolve like us and a “mother universe” may produce “baby universes.”
d. The brane multiverse: Einstein proposed the fourth dimension. Now physicists are entertaining the idea of multiple dimensions. One physicist said that a fifth dimension maybe curled up. Another theory, called M-theory, talks about seven hidden dimensions.
e. The quantum multiverse: In quantum mechanics, particles are treated as waves and a wave function allows a particle to exist in several states at once called a “superposition.” But, when an object is measured, that superposition is lost as only one state exists. A physicist, Hugh Everett, said that maybe superposition is not lost, and we just cannot see the other states or realities known as the “many worlds of interpretation”. The same concept applies to the universe. It is there, but we might not be able to see it. (source)
8 Saturn’s moon Titan has methane lakes and oceans. While it may be difficult to swim or boat in that due to its low density, you will be able to push yourself halfway out of the water like a dolphin. And with wings, you can easily fly!
The Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes suggested the possibility of methane oceans and lakes on Titan, Saturn’s moon. There are large amounts of methane at Titan, the moon that has a really low gravitational pull as compared to Earth. If you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh 12 pounds on Titan. Walking on Titan would be equal to walking at the bottom of a swimming pool as its atmospheric pressure is 60% greater than Earth.
Let’s say you managed to get to Titan by building a fancy spacecraft and decided to go swimming. The density of liquid methane is only half of that of water. So, you would need a proper apparatus to propel yourself forward in the liquid. Due to its low gravity and density, you could push yourself about halfway out of the water like a dolphin. And, if you had artificial wings, you could take off and really fly! (1, 2)
9 If a human ever gets sucked into a black hole, they will be “spaghettified.” A human body will become a string of atoms in a black hole and this process is really named, “spaghettification” and also called the “noodle effect.”
As weird as it sounds, you get “spaghettified”—turned into a string of atoms. In astrophysics, the vertical stretching and horizontal compression of objects into long, thin, spaghetti-like shapes through a non-homogeneous gravitational field is known as the “noodle effect” or “spaghettification.” This is what happens near black holes and no object can withstand it. This happens because the gravity at one point of the object will be much stronger than the other end. This can happen also during strong tidal forces.
In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking describes a fictional astronaut being “stretched like a spaghetti” on passing through a black hole. In 2018, spaghettification of a star was imaged by researchers who were observing the colliding of galaxies 150 million light-years away. (source)
10 Jupiter does not orbit the sun. It is so huge that the center of gravity of its orbit is not actually inside the sun. Both the sun and the Jupiter orbit around the same point in space.
What we learned in school about all the planets in the solar system orbiting the Sun was wrong. The gas giant, Jupiter, does not because it is so huge! It has 2.5 times the mass than all the other planets in the solar system combined. That makes it so big that the center of gravity between the Sun and Jupiter is not inside the Sun like it is for other planets. The center of gravity is a point in space outside the Sun, and both the Sun and the Jupiter orbit around it. That point is 1.07 solar radii from the center of the Sun. Yeah, the Sun is not really stationary.
This happens even though Jupiter is only a fraction of Sun’s size. When the Earth orbits the Sun, the center of gravity is so close to the center of the Sun that the movement of the Sun is negligible. The same goes for the other planets. (1, 2)
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