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10 Strange Facts About Space You Probably Didn’t Know

Strange Facts About Space

We know that space is infinite. Maybe we can never learn enough about it, but it surely has the potential of introducing new and strange phenomena to us. Scientists and astronauts do that job very well and always come up with things and theories that are not only interesting but sometimes so strange that they sound unimaginable. And most of us are not familiar with such strange facts. Following is one such list of 10 strange facts about space you probably didn’t know.

1. In the year 2009, our radio astronauts started receiving radio signals from a very strange object from another galaxy, M82, which is 10 million light-years away. The object may be a micro version of the brightest object in the universe or a “micro-quasar,” in other words. Scientists don’t know much about the object. 

Radio Telescope and Galaxy M82
(Image to the right), Messier 82 (The Cigar Galaxy) Image credits: Shutterstock

This novel object was observed in May 2009 by the radio astronauts at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory and has left our scientists and researchers in confusion. They’ve mentioned, “We’ve never seen anything quite like this before”.

The object is so mysterious because Galaxy M82 is a “starburst galaxy”, which also means that it creates huge explosions with supernovas every 20 to 30 years which create new stars, and then the supernovas subside in a few months. But this particular object has not shown any sign of dying, instead, it is even brighter than before.

Quasars are located in the center of galaxies and have huge black holes and are thousands of times brighter than their entire galaxy. The new object is a micro-quasar, but it is 10 times brighter than all of the micro-quasars that have been discovered until now.

The research is being carried on, and data from 20 radio telescopes across the globe is being combined to make it stronger. (1, 2, 3)

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2. In a galaxy 12 billion light-years away, there is a black hole water vapor cloud that contains about 140 trillion times the amount of water present on Earth. It weighs 40 billion times the mass of Earth.

Black Holes
This illustration shows the thick dust torus that astronomers believe surrounds supermassive black holes and their accretion disc’s. Image credit: nasa.gov

The black hole that contains this large amount of water is so far the most distant and most massive cloud of water ever seen by radio astronauts. It is a quasar of its universe, and quasars are the brightest and most energetic object in the universe.

The water vapor is observable because the black hole consumes all the material surrounding it in the form of a disk, and in turn, it emits energy in the form of x-ray and infrared radiation, which heats the surrounding material so the water vapor becomes observable.

The warm water vapor moistens the gases and dust surrounding the black hole. These gases and dust are present in such a large quantity that the black hole may grow larger by six times, i.e. 120 billion times the mass of our sun.

The study was primarily carried out in the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. (1, 2)

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3. There is a rebellious object named “Niku” that orbits around the Sun in the opposite direction of all the objects in the Solar System. Scientists do not have any explanation of how the little planetoid Niku orbits in such a way. 

Niku Planet
An artist’s impression of distant trans-Neptunian objects. Image credits: NASA/ ESA/ G. Bacon via skyandtelescope

“NIku” is named after a Chinese adjective meaning “rebellious,” and is certainly the right name for this planetoid. NIku literally revolves around the Sun in the opposite direction of nearly everything else in the entire Solar System.

It lies in the utmost part of the Solar System, even beyond Neptune’s orbit. The object is retrograded and has an extreme tilt of 110 degrees. The planet’s orbit is directly contradicting the other planets in the Solar System and even the trans-Neptunian objects.

The discovery was first made by the Mount Lemmon Survey on 31 May 2011 but was only announced after its rediscovery in 2016. It was only possible with the help of the Pan-STARRS telescope.

Later, scientists found “Drac,” which is yet another object which shows the same orbital properties, and four more objects that are retrograded or slightly retrograde, i.e. their orbits are tilted by more or less than 90 degrees. On top of this, the six objects seem to be aligned or have appeared in orbit within a common plane. (1, 2)

4. In the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, there is a dwarf planet named “Ceres” where our first spacecraft has reached. It is the smallest and the closest dwarf planet discovered until now. It might have its own atmosphere and ocean as well.

Ceres
The spacecraft dawn as it approaches an encounter with Ceres. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Image credit: Shutterstock

Ceres is surprisingly the only dwarf planet inside the planet Neptune’s orbit, and this is the closest dwarf planet to the Sun. The planet is the smallest dwarf planet of all, but it is still the largest body in the asteroid belt and the 33rd largest object in the entire Solar System.

It has a shape of a flattened sphere with a radius of 490 kilometers. There is so much more to know about the secrets of the planet, and scientists have mentioned that it might have its own atmosphere and ocean.

Ceres was discovered in January 1801 by the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi at Palermo Observatory. The name “Ceres” originates from an ancient Roman grain goddess and the patron goddess of Sicily.  At first, it was considered a planet but was reclassified as an asteroid in 1850 and finally a “dwarf planet” in August 2006. (1, 2, 3)

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5. Approximately 64.5 light-years from our solar system, there is a planet named “HD189733-b” that rains molten glass and has wind that blows seven times faster than the speed of sound. It looks similar to Earth from a distance because of its blue color. but it is more of an evil twin to Earth.

HD189733-b
Exoplanet HD189733-B. Image credit: NASA/Shutterstock  

The planet is one of the most terrifying places in our galaxy. One would never imagine being on the planet because it rains molten glass in the exceptionally fast winds that blow at the speed of two kilometers per second, or in ⁷other words, seven times the speed of sound. The planet lies in the constellation of Vulpecula. It has a 16.2% greater mass and 13.8% greater radius than Jupiter.

The plant was first observed on 5 October 2005 when it was revolving around its host star HD 189733. The observation was made by French astronomers when the planet was making the transition through the face of its host star.

The atmosphere of the planet was studied extensively with high and low-resolution instruments from the ground and space, and it also became the first planet for which a thermal map was created.

The color of the planet is cobalt blue because of which it appears similar to Earth from a distance, but, unlike Earth, the reason for the blue color is not the reflection of oceans. It is because of the high clouds laced with silicate particles. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 Crazy Facts About Space

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