No.1 Fascinating Thing in Space is Gravitational Lensing
In space, gravity has some additional effects unlike on earth one of those being has the ability to bend light over objects and effect that scientists called Gravitational Lensing. This picture below is a luminous red galaxy, gravitational distorting the light from much more distant blue galaxy causing the blue light to appear like a perfect ring. This is a significant discovery because it means the astronomers may now ability to study things like galaxies that are behind gravity sources such as black holes. this effect can create multiple copies of objects as seen in the below picture. Where one galaxy appears as three and one quasar appears as five.
No. 2 Fascinating Thing in Space is Pareidolia
Pareidolia is the effect of perceiving an image or pattern where it doesn’t actually exist and there is a lot of it in space. There are countless examples of images taken from space of things that look a little too familiar. This photo taken by NASA on July 25th, 1976, appears to show a face on Mars. This image taken by the European Southern Observatory of three galaxies appears to be a cosmic hummingbird. This image taken by the Chandra Observatory is of a pulsar and has been dubbed the “Hand of God.” This is a thermal image taken by NASA of Mimas, one of Saturn’s moons, showing what looks like a Pac-Man. Those are just some of the 100s of images available online so feel free to google them.
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No. 3 Fascinating Thing in Space is Mira, the red giant
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see a shooting star, you know how cool it looks. But of course, a shooting star is not a star at all. It’s a meteorite, as a star is billions of times bigger. Well, as it so happens, there’s an actual shooting star that was discovered called Mira. It’s a red giant planet at the end of its life but instead of simply burning out like most stars it decided to go out in a blaze of glory, rocketing through the universe at a speed of 468,000 kilometers an hour. A fascinating thing about Mira is that the 13 light-year-long tail that it is leaving behind it will actually spawn more stars and planets in the future.
No. 4 Fascinating Thing in Space is Hypervelocity stars
If you thought Mira was impressive let me introduce you to its track-running cousin on meth, the hypervelocity star. These stars are big fiery balls of gas that blast through space at a speed of up to 3.2 million kilometers an hour. When a star system is consumed by a super-massive black hole it ejects a massive ball of burning gas up to four times the size of our sun at an almost incomprehensible speed. In fact, just last year, six hypervelocity stars were ejected from the black hole at the heart of our milky way.
No. 5 Fascinating Thing in Space is The Bipolar Planet
Discovered in 2007, Gliese 581c is an extremely bizarre planet. It orbits a red dwarf star with proximity far closer than that of the earth to the sun. This means that its stuck in a state of something called tidal locking, which means that one side of the planet is always facing the star while one side is always facing away from it, just like the moon’s relationship with Earth. just like the moon’s relationship with Earth while the other side would instantly freeze you. However, in between those two extremes, there’s a small belt that scientists believe could support life. In fact, this planet was determined to be one of the leading candidates for future colonization of space.
No. 6 Fascinating Thing in Space is The Castor System
The Castor system represents one of the two bright stars from the Gemini constellation and is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. What’s impressive about the Castor system is that it only appears to be a single star, but it’s actually six individual stars that emit 52.4 times more luminosity than that of our sun. To put that into perspective, the sun is incredibly bright and is only 0.000015 light years away from Earth. The Castor system is 49.8 light years away from Earth.
No. 7 Fascinating Thing in Space is The Diamond Planet.
Discovered in 2004, 55 Cancri e is a planet made almost entirely out of crystallized diamond. This planet, dubbed the diamond planet, was actually once part of a binary system until its partner planet began to cannibalize it. The result was enough heat and pressure to create a core made of pure diamond, representing 1/3 of the planet’s entire mass. The rest of the planet is made up of crystallized diamond, graphite, and a few other silicates. if you’re wondering just how big this planet is its two times the size of Earth with times its mass.
No. 8 Fascinating Thing in Space is The Himiko Cloud.
The Himiko cloud is a primordial blob of gas discovered in 2009 and is the largest object discovered in 2009 and is the largest object Believed to date back only 800,000,000 years after the original big bang, it’s located 12.9 billion light years away and researchers believe it may hold the secrets to the origins of our galaxy. This cloud belongs to the Epoch of Reionization, a time when galaxies were just beginning to form in the universe. It was named Himiko after the ancient and mysterious Japanese queen.
No. 9 Fascinating Thing in Space is The Large Quasar Group.
The large quasar group or LQG was deemed the largest and most massive known structure in the observable universe upon its discovery in 2012. The LQG is approximately 4,000,000,000 light years in diameter and again, to put that into perspective, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is only about 100,000 light years in diameter and even that is a huge number. In fact, it’s so enormous that it literally breaks. The laws of modern astronomy, as the maximum size of any cosmic structure, should only be 1.2 billion light years across. Scientists are completely baffled by how this structure was formed.
No. 10 Fascinating Thing in Space is Rogue Planets
Our solar system has eight planets in it, nine if you count Pluto, but that’s only counting the planets that play by the rules of our solar system. There also exists things called rogue planets which are planets that don’t orbit anything and simply move through the galaxy until something stops it. Now that’s as interesting as it is terrifying because the average size of these planets is comparable to Jupiter and there are 200,000,000,000 of them rushing around universe just ready to smash into us. So essentially, 200,000,000,000 gigantic planets are speeding randomly around us like a universal game of pinball.
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