20 Amazing Curiosities And Interesting Information About the Universe

Universe is so vast that it is extremely difficult to comprehend and understand its complexity. Nowadays humanity has the ability to fumble only its vastness surface, but every time we do, we collect outstanding information and images which are equally stunning and enigmatic. What we know now about the Universe was immediately made public thank to the most important organization of space exploration, and here are 20 of the most interesting information and facts about the Universe.

1. When you look at the starry sky at night, you look back in time

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

The stars we see in the sky at night are very far away that light requires a long period of time to travel into space to be seen by us. This thing means that every time we look into the night at the stars we see them exactly how they looked like in the past. For example, the bright star Vega is relatively close to us, at a distance of 25 light years away, so the light that we now see on Earth has gone 25 years ago; while the star Betelgeuse (photo) in the Orion constellation is 640 light years away, thus the visible light began its journey around the year 1370 during the One Hundred Years War between England and France. Other visible stars are more distant, so we see deeper into their past.

2. Hubble telescope allows us to look billions of years in the past

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Hubble telescope allows us to look at very distant objects in the Universe. Thanks to this remarkable engineering machine, NASA has managed to create some incredible shots, one of them being the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. Using pictures of the telescope in 2003 and 2004, this incredible images show a small sky patch with immense details. It contains 10 000 objects, most of them are young galaxies, and acts as a portal back in time. With one picture we are transported 13 billion years ago, just between 400 and 800 billion years after Big Bang – period of the early history of Universe.

3. You can watch Big Bang at the television

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Cosmic background radiation is the electromagnetic radiation and residual heat remained from The Big Bang, event which started out universe 13.7 billion years ago. This cosmic echo exists throughout the Universe, and amazingly we can use an old TV to catch a small part of it. When the TV isn’t tuned to a station you can see those white puffs and the crashing white noise, around one percent of this mixture consist the background of cosmic radiation – creation radiation.

4. It is a huge cloud of alcohol in Sagittarius B

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Sagittarius B is a large molecular cloud of gas and dust that floats near the center of the Milky Way, at about 26 000 light years from Earth, with 463 billion miles in diameter and contains 10 billion liters of alcohol. Vinyl alcohol from the cloud is far from being the most delicious drink in the Universe, but it is an important organic molecule that gives some clues of how are produced the first substance blocks of life.

5. A diamond – planet in Centaurus was named after a Beatles song

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Astronomers have discovered the largest known diamond in our galaxy; is a massive piece of crystallized diamond called BPM 37 093, otherwise known as Lucy after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Found at a distance of 50 light years away in the Centaurus constellation, Lucy is approximately 40 000 miles from one end to another, a third of Earth’s size and weighs 10 billion trillion carats.

6. It takes 225 million years for our Sun to travel around the Galaxy

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

While Earth and the other planets of our Solar System orbits around the Sun, also the Sun itself orbits around the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Sun needs 225 million years to make a complete circuit of our galaxy. Last time when Sun has been in its present position in the galaxy was when the super continent Pangaea barely begun to break apart and dinosaurs made their first appearance.

7. The highest mountain in our Solar System is on Mars

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Olympus Mons on Mars is the highest mountain in our Solar System. The mountain is a volcano-shield (similar with volcanoes in Hawaii) is 26 kilometers height and spreads on over 600 kilometers. To imagine how high the mountain is hard to tell because it’s almost three times higher than Mount Everest.

8. Uranus spins on its side with some pretty strange results

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Most planets in the Solar System rotate on a similar axis as the Sun’s. A slight tilt of the axis causes seasons when different parts of the planets may be slightly closer or farther away from the Sun during its cycle. Uranus is an exceptional planet taken in account several respects, being not least that it rotates almost entirely on one side in relation to the Sun. This thing leads to very long seasons – for each pole is about 42 Earth years continuously illuminated by sunlight in summer, followed by a period of 42 years of dark winter. Uranus’s northern hemisphere enjoyed last time of the summer solstice in 1944 and will see the next winter solstice in 2028.

9. A year on Venus is shorter than a day on Venus

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Venus is the slowly planet in our Solar System, so slowly that it needs more time to make a full rotation than to complete its orbit. This means that days on Venus last days longer than its years. It is also the host to the most inhospitable environments, with constant electronic storms, high level of CO2, and is surrounded by clouds of sulfuric acid.

10. Neutron stars rotate faster than any known object in the Universe

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Neutron stars are considered objects with the fastest rotation in the Universe. Pulsars are a type of neutron star emitting a beam that can be seen as a light pulse when the star spins. This pulse rate allows astronomers to measure rotations.
The fastest rotation is of a pulsar called very cute PSR J1748-2446ad, which has a rotation of 24% of the speed of light, which is equal with over 70 000 miles per second.

11. A spoonful of neutron star weighs about one billion tonnes

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Neutron stars have an incredibly rapid rotation and also are incredibly dense. It is known that if you could collect a spoonful of matter from the center of a neutron star, it would weight about a billion tons.

12. Spacecraft Voyager 1 is the further object from Earth made by humans

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Voyager program launched two spacecrafts, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1977. The probes have explored planets and moons in the outer Solar System over several decades, and now continue their mission to travel through the edge of the Heliosphere of our Solar System and to travel through the interstellar space.
On March 20, Voyager 1 became the first man-made object to leave the Solar System and is now the most distant object from Earth made by man, at a distance of 124.34 AU. In layman’s terms this means that it is at a distance of about 1010 km × 186009992. In another words, it’s far away from home.

13. Voyager 1 took pictures of the Earth from the greatest distance

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

In 1990, as a part of its mission deployment, Voyager 1 turned back the back camera and took a picture of our planet. What became known as The Pale Blue Dot! Seen from a distance of 6 billion miles away, the Earth appears as a small blue spot in the depths of space. Astronomer Carl Sagan, who first suggested the idea of this photography, noted: “In this distance, Earth may not seem to have much interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again this point. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. ”

14. It is estimated that there are 400 billion stars in our galaxy

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Our Sun is essential for us in the middle of our Solar System, our source of energy and light, but he is just one of many stars who formed our galaxy, the Milky Way. Current estimations suggest that in our galaxy there are about 400 billion stars. The art concept above shows a disk of dust around a star-child that could look like this.

15. It can be 500 million planets capable of supporting life in our galaxy

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Scientists seeking for extraterrestrial life focus over so-called “Goldilocks” planets; these are planets falling into the habitable zone of a star. Earth appears to have exactly the necessary conditions for the existence of life – the distance from the Sun means that the temperature is suitable, water can exist in the liquid, solid and gas form, there is the right mix of chemical compounds to build complex life forms. Other planets considered as having similar characteristics are known as Goldilocks planets.
Only in the Milky Way galaxy is estimated to be 500 million Goldilocks planets, so if life can exist elsewhere than Earth, there are a huge number of planets where it could thrive. If this number can be applied to all the galaxies in the Universe there could be an amazing variety of planets capable to support life. Of course, we do not have any evidence that there is life elsewhere, but there are plenty of places for it to set up a home.

16. There are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable Universe

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Different calculations provide different numbers for how many galaxies are observable in the Universe – is the Universe’s side we can see on Earth with our present technologies, they can be much more, but they simply are too far away for our telescopes to detect them. Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have calculated that are likely to be around 170 billion galaxies in the observable Universe.

17. It may be an infinite number of Universes

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This is rather a speculative theory than a fact, but several math branches, quantum mechanics and astrophysics all have reached similar conclusions: our Universe is just one of many and in fact we exist in the “Multiverse.”
There are different ideas about how it could be; one being the concept of atoms capability to arrange in a finite time and space, which ultimately lead to the repetition of events and people. Other theories suggest parallel Universes and bubbles or “Brane-worlds” in other dimensions inaccessible to us. Although these concepts seem fanciful ideas of science fiction, they actually turn out to be the most elegant solution to the issues raised by our findings regarding the operation of our Universe.

18. The human brain is the most complex object in the known Universe

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Our brains are very complex objects with a hundreds billion neurons and a quadrillion connections, and we still know very little about how it works this organic super computer. But we know that the human brain is the most complicated thing we discovered, yet. It gives us the power to shape language and culture, consciousness, the idea of self, ability to learn, to understand the Universe and reflect on our place in it. We even have a “gravity model” built, which is quite useful.

19. We are all made of stardust

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

This may sound fantastic, but the reality is that any element found on Earth was created in the core, a star’s “reactor”, everything that constitutes life on Earth, so our bodies are made of stardust. NASA studied extensively stardust and you can find more information on their official website. A can of NASA’s stardust is represents the above painting. According to Carl Sagan, the nitrogen in our DNA, calcium in teeth, iron from blood, carbon from our honey pies were created inside a star after gravitational collapse. We are all made of stars.

20. 95% of our Universe is composed of matter and dark energy

Image Credits: Nasa.gov

Only 5% of matter is visible in our Universe, while the remaining 95% consists of dark matter (25%) and dark energy (70%) which is invisible.
Both dark matter and dark energy are theoretical hypotheses to explain some discrepancies in scientist calculations, mainly in calculating the total mass of the observable Universe.
Dark matter is one of the greatest mysteries of modern astrophysics. It can’t be seen directly with telescopes and obviously this doesn’t emit nor absorb light or other electromagnetic radiation.
In physical cosmology and astronomy, dark energy is an unknown form of energy that passes through all the space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the Universe. Dark energy is the most accepted hypothesis to explain the observations since the 1990’s indicating that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.
What we can say for sure is that if we can’t see something it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.


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