Balls of burning gas; holes that trap light
and everything else; stars made out of diamonds; these are but a few of the many things that
make our universe a scary but wondrous place. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, our universe is
a wild place, and for all of history, man has been trying to make sense of it. Although
we’ve come a long way in our understanding, with every passing day new discoveries are
made. Whether it’s an alcoholic gas cloud floating in the center of our galaxy or Einstein’s
theories of relativity, it’s enough to make an astrophysicist go wild. I’m Mike with List25
and don’t worry, this stuff is cool enough that by the time you finish watching these
25 Crazy Facts About The Universe, we’re pretty sure you’ll be going wild, too. 25. Tonight, when the sun goes down, look up. Depending on how dark it is outside, you can
probably see several thousand stars up there, all of which come from our own galaxy, the
Milky Way. If you look a bit closer though, you might be able to spot one of only a few
galaxies other than our own that is visible with the naked eye. 24.
If this makes you feel small, it should, because scientists estimate that there are hundreds
of billions more galaxies in the universe, none of which you can see without a telescope.
Moreover, each one of these galaxies has billions of stars, which brings the estimated grand
total number of stars in the universe to 10 billion trillion. That’s more stars than the
number of grains of sand on the Earth. 23.
All the stars, galaxies, and black holes in the universe only compose about 5% of its
mass. As crazy as it sounds, the other 95% is unaccounted for. Scientists decided to
label this mystery material â€œdark matter.â€ To this day, they are still not sure where
or what it is. 22.
For those of you considering opening your own pubs, there is probably no place better
than Sagittarius B. Although it is 26,000 light years away, this interstellar cloud
of gas and dust contains over a billion billion billion liters of vinyl alcohol. Okay, so
it’s not really drinkable, but it’s a very important organic compound that is critical
to the existence of life. 21.
In the late 1950â€²s, by way of something labeled Project A119, the US decided it would
be a good idea to launch a nuclear missile at the moon. Why? Evidently, they felt it
would give them a leg up in the Space Race. Fortunately, however, the plan was never executed. 20.
Have you ever noticed that when the moon is directly on the horizon, it appears to be
a lot closer and larger? Known as the Ponzo illusion, your brain inflates the size of
the moon to make it appear larger than it really is. Donâ€™t believe me? Next time
youâ€™re looking at an oversized moon block everything else out with your hands
and watch it shrink. 19.
Upon leaving the moon, astronauts on the Apollo missions described moon dust as smelling like
gunpowder and feeling extremely soft. Scientists, however, are still not exactly sure why this
is because the two have extremely different compositions with moon dust consisting mostly
of small shards of silicone dioxide glass. 18.
In 2004, scientists discovered the largest diamond ever. In fact, itâ€™s a collapsed
star. Measuring 4,000 km (2,485 miles) across and having a core composed of 10 billion trillion
trillion carats, itâ€™s roughly 50 light years from the Earth. 17.
Strangely enough, Venus completes an entire orbit around the sun before it manages to
turn on its axis once. This means that its day is actually longer than its year. 16.
As big as the planet Saturn is, if you were to put it in a glass of water, it would float.
This is because its density is .687 grams per cm cubed, while water is the famous .998
g per cm cubed. Unfortunately, though, you would need a glass that is over 120,000 km
(74,564 miles) in diameter to witness this. 15.
Whenever two pieces of metal in outer space touch each other, they are more or less permanently
stuck together. While welding usually requires heat, in this case, the vacuum of space does
the trick, hence the name cold welding. You might think then, how do space shuttles accomplish
anything out there? Well, typically, metals on Earth have a layer of oxidized material
covering their surface that prevents this, so on shuttle missions, the risk of accidentally
welding the shuttle to itself is negligible. 14.
Earth has more than 1 moon. Okay, not really. Theyâ€™re more like moon-wannabes, but
scientists have discovered several asteroids that are more or less following the Earth
as it moves around the sun. 13.
Earth does, however, have over 8,000 objects orbiting around it. Most of these would be
classified as â€œspace junkâ€ or debris left over from spacecraft and missions in
the past. 12.
Each year, scientists have determined that the moon moves about 3.8 cm further from the
Earth. As a result, Earthâ€™s spin has slowed by about .002 seconds every day over
the course of the last century. 11.
While most of us know that the light hitting Earth took 8 minutes to cross the 93 million
miles between our skin and the surface of the Sun, did you know that the energy in those
rays started their life over 30,000 years ago deep within the core of the sun? They
were formed by an intense fusion reaction and spent most of those thousands of years
making their way to the Sunâ€™s surface. 10.
While itâ€™s not my intention to burst your bubble, I thought I should inform you
that the Big Dipper is actually an asterism, not a constellation. There are only 88 official
constellations in the night sky, and everything else, including the Big Dipper, falls into
this other category. It is, however, composed of the 7 brightest stars in the Great Bear
(Ursa Major) constellation. 9.
You are standing on a planet that is spinning about its axis while rotating around a star
that is revolving around the center of a galaxy barreling through space. Sounds like enough
to give you motion sickness, right? Well, before you take your Dramamine, let’s visit
our next point. 8.
So, how do you know that the bus you are taking to work is in fact moving? What if you are
sitting in the only motionless object in the known universe and everything else, including
the road beneath your tires, is moving instead? Well, the truth is that there is no way to
prove what is moving and what isn’t. Itâ€™s all relative to your frame of reference. To
you, the person across the aisle is stationary because your frame of reference is the bus.
To the person watching from the sidewalk, however, you are both speeding along at 60
mph (96.5 k/hr) through traffic because their frame of reference is the earth. 7.
Going back to the bus example, if you were to shoot an arrow out the window at a target
down the road in front of you, how fast would it be moving when it hit the bullseye? Well,
essentially it would be going the speed of the bus â€“ about 60 mph â€“ plus
however fast you shot the arrow. Now what if you shined a beam of light at it? Since
the light travels at 186,000 miles per second, we would just add the 60 mph right? Wrong.
Scientists found that no matter what, light travels the same speed. Which brings us to
our next pointâ€¦ 6.
As a result of the aforementioned fact that light cannot exceed 186,000 miles per second,
it would follow that nothing can, which is exactly why this has come to be known as the
universal speed limit. 5.
Without getting too complex, Einstein essentially came forward with the revolutionary idea that
not only is motion relative, but time is too. In fact, they are linked together. The faster
you move, the slower others will perceive that time has passed for you. While this was
exactly the kind of nonsense scientists were trying to avoid, Einstein took it at face
value and accepted the conclusion. 4.
Everything I just talked about is very relevant to modern technology. In fact, the clocks
in onboard computers and navigation equipment have to take into account the effects of relativity.
For example, if you measured the time that had elapsed on a fighter pilots wristwatch,
you would find that it lagged behind your watch by several nanoseconds. 3.
Because the force of gravity increases near the surface of the Earth, so does your acceleration,
meaning exactly what youâ€™re thinking â€“ time slows down. Once again, this
is very relevant to modern day society because, at different altitudes, clocks tick at different
â€œspeeds.” Also, remember that since the earth is rotating, someone standing near
the equator is moving faster than someone on the north pole. Once again, their clock
is ticking slower. 2.
If you have been keeping up so far, then this wonâ€™t be too much of a leap. The famous
Twins Paradox states that if you put one twin on a spaceship that was moving near the speed
of light through space and left the other on Earth, due to the effects of relativity,
the twin in the spaceship would return to the planet significantly younger than his
Earthbound sibling. 1.
At one point, black holes were actually supermassive stars. When one dies, it generally blows off
its gaseous outer layers and the core collapses into an extremely small and dense sphere.
Imagine, for example, trying to pick up a tennis ball containing the entire mass of
the Sun. The immediate effect of this astronomically high density would be an insanely strong gravitational
field. To break free from any gravitational field, you have to be traveling faster than
something known as escape velocity. On Earth, spacecraft reach a speed of about 7 miles
per second. On some collapsed stars, though, they would have to reach a speed faster than
186,000 miles per second which is more than the universal speed limit, meaning nothing
â€“ not even light â€“ could escape. Enjoying our lists? Be sure to click that
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