25 Scary Facts about Space You Won't Learn in School

Sunday, 14 April 2019

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7. Eridanus Supervoid

First of all, stop your juvenile snickering. No, t

First of all, stop your juvenile snickering. No, this isn’t slang for an epic bowel movement or anything of the sordid kind. The Eridanus Supervoid is believed to be a massive empty section located in the Eridanus Constellation just south of Orion. However, what makes this discovery so intriguing is that it’s not only the largest structure ever observed in the Universe, but it’s missing about 10,000 galaxies — or around 20 percent less matter than other regions. As a result, the oddity could possibly contain an “alternative reality” within this ominous patch of sky.

In 2004, cosmologists at University of Hawaii observed a span stretching 1.8 billion light-years across and located about 3 billion light-years away (1 light year = 5.88 trillion miles). They identified a large Cold Spot on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), a map of the radiation left over from the Big Bang, providing a critical tool to study the origin and development of the Universe at cosmic timescales.

The startling revelation presented a perplexing conundrum: the enormity of the cold spot doesn’t align with our current understanding of how the Universe evolved. While it’s not uncommon to find a few small warm and cold patches on the CMB, cold patches of this magnitude are a head-scratching anomaly. According to one report, it’s “too big to exist.”

3. Rouge Planets

Depending on what decade you were raised in, our solar system has anywhere between eight and nine planets. But that’s only counting the planets that play by the rules. Rouge planets are the bad boys of outer space, and they simply do not give a damn about you or your precious “orbit.”

Rouge planets are bodies that no longer orbit something else and simply move through the galaxy until something stops it or it stops something or both. The leading theory on their origins suggests they were booted from their original orbits, presumably for being too extreme. Though it doesn’t fit the whole “extreme” angle, imagine it as a game of croquet in space.

While frightening entirely on their own, a few things about rogue planets are straight-up terrifying. First, the number of them is estimated to be equal to twice as many stars in our galaxy. That’s… a lot. Second, the average size is comparable to that of Jupiter. Now imagine two-hundred billion Jupiters untamed by a strict orbit, rushing around in any direction at all. Either God has a twisted sense of humor or he just really, really likes pinball.

A rouge planet charging into a new system isn’t necessarily a violent event, but it could be just as disastrous. It’s currently believed that a rogue planet could push another object from orbit, sending it careening through space.

The Face on Mars

NASA

Though we have yet to find any aliens on Mars, NASA did discover this creepy human face on the Red Planet. The original “Face on Mars” image was taken by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter, in grey scale, on July, 25 1976. NASA assures that the face is simply a peculiar pile of rocks — but that doesn’t make it any less spooky!

4. We’re really, really, really small…

Although mother earth appears to be a gigantic sph

Although mother earth appears to be a gigantic sphere of bottomless oceans and endless roads, we’re relatively puny compared to other planets. How small? In terms of relative scale, Jupiter is 2.5 times larger than all the rest of the planets in the Solar System combined. But if you really want to feel minuscule, look no further than our sun — that big fiery 10,000-degree inferno 93 million miles away.

The Sun’s diameter is 109 times bigger than the rock we call home and is so large that 1,300,000 planet Earths could fit inside of it. While the luminous ball appears to be the largest star in the sky, that’s only because it’s the closest. The #1 star in the universe is the gargantuan UY Scuti, a Red Supergiant with a radius around 1,700 times larger than our sun.

But don’t despair, Earthlings. At least now you know how a ladybug feels, clinging to a thin blade of grass.

Space Ghosts

Adam Block, NOAO, AURA, NSF

Ghastly figures appear to be fighting to escape from this cloud of interstellar gas and dust called SH2-136. The illuminated dark nebula is about 1,200 light-years away, towards the constellation Cepheus.

Miranda the Monster Moon

Miranda is an icy moon of Uranus, the seventh planet from our Sun. If you look closely at Miranda, you’ll notice a mismatched appearance. Are those scars a sign that this moon was patched together like Frankenstein’s monster? Nope! Those patches are actually deep craters, high ridges, and extreme cliffs.

More about the moons in our solar system

More about Miranda

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Rest in Peace, Robots

Satellites that orbit Earth can keep working for a very long time. But where do they go when they reach the end of their lives? Well, if satellites are small enough and close enough, they dive into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. If the spacecraft is too far away to head back toward Earth, the satellite is instead sent into a far out “graveyard orbit,” many thousands of miles away from Earth. Out there, the dead satellite won’t burn up, but it will at least stay out of the way of active, working satellites.

Learn all about what happens to spacecraft when they die

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