Space is the great mind-bender. Just think about it on a deep, meaningful level for more than five seconds and try not to freak out at the size and scope of it. While we'll discover plenty in our lifetimes, the sad truth is space is way too large for all the secrets to be discovered before we pass on. Fortunately, there's plenty of cool facts out there now to keep us occupied until those days come.
Reddit user, u/macmite, wanted to know the coolest about the final frontier when they asked:
Two Words: Ice. Volcanoes.homer simpson wow GIF Giphy
Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus has volcanoes that spew ice particles at speeds faster than the escape velocity. The particles leave Enceladus' atmosphere and get pulled into Saturn's ring system forming the E ring!
Always Moving Away From Each Other
Even though the speed of light is the universal speed limit, many clusters of galaxies are moving away from each other much faster than the speed of light.
The simple version of how this can happen is because of frame of reference. You can look at it like the space in between is expanding while the galaxies are standing still. This is a huge rabbit hole, but pretty dam cool.
Who Loves A Math Fact?
There's an exoplanet which is mostly made of diamond. Just a small portion of it would crash the diamond's value, if brought here.
It's called 55 Cancri e. It's worth $26.9 nonillion. That's 7.27*1017 times the money on Earth (in circulation)
One Or Two Scoops?
One table spoon of a neutron star weighs 900 billion kg. (More than Mount Everest)
The fastest thing we might have ever launched into space from Earth, and months before Sputnik, was a glorified manhole cover. By accident.
I say might because nobody knows for sure if it actually reached space or disintegrated on the way up.
But We Shouldn't...Right?
You could fit all the planets in the solar system in the space between Earth and the Moon.
Neptune was discovered using math. A man named Alexis Bouvard made some predictions on Uranus's future position using Newton's laws of gravity, but when it was later observed it was found to be slightly off. Urbain Le Verrier found that if he assumed there was another planet further out, the discrepancy would be explained and used math to predict where it could be found. Finally, a man named Johann Galle looked in the spot Le Verrier specified, and lo and behold, there was Neptune.
What A Stroke Of Luck
Being able to see a total solar eclipse is a sheer coincidence of timing. The moon is just large enough and just far enough away from Earth to appear to be the exact size of the sun during a total eclipse (when it covers the entire disc of the sun). Since the moon is slowly moving away from Earth, one day it will no longer appear large enough to fully cover the sun and there will be no more total eclipses. This won't happen for 600 million years though, so don't panic.
Backwards Is Forwards
Venus spins backward.
Whatever the direction of the other planets when they are rotating, Venus rotates the exact opposite way.
Everything Is Always Movinglisa simpson space GIF Giphy
If you were to scale the universe down so that the sun was the size of the period at the end of this sentence, the nearest star would be 4 miles away.
The Big Bang was not an explosion of matter, rather it was an expansion of space itself. Everything is getting farther away from everything else, as all space is expanding. There is no center of the universe.
A Collapsing Universal Structure
Because a black hole has no depth this means the 3 dimensional material placed within it is stored in a 2 dimensional area. It's recoverability notwithstanding, this is the foundation of the idea that the 3d world we know is a simulation and our world actually exists in a lower dimension like how a hologram presents a 3d picture, but is actually a 2d plane.
The Lack Of Gravity
In space, your body starts to change because of the lack of gravity. You grow taller, your vision can change because basically your eyeballs change shape. Even your blood circulation is changed by no longer being effected by gravity.
There are more trees on earth than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy!
According to the estimates from the study (2015) conducted by a team of scientists from Yale University, there are about 3 trillion trees covering our planet where as the number of stars in the Milky way is estimated (mathematical calculations ofc) to be between 100-400 billion.
This is somewhat bittersweet cuz, the team estimates we are removing about 15 billion a year, with perhaps only five billion being planted back.
So mind-blowing and sad at the same time.
Hey! Want To Feel Small?
There are stars out there so huge, that if you replaced our sun with one of them in our solar system it would swallow everything up past the orbit of Mars. And that's not even the biggest thing out there. Remember that actual photo of a black hole that was taken last year? The dark part in the middle, the event horizon, is more than three times the size of the orbit of Pluto.
Think About It: Where Else Would They Go To The Bathroom?
That there is a bag of poop on the moon.
Be Jealous Of Our Descendants
most of the visible stars in the night sky are binary stars, two stars orbiting each other
Sometimes I get envious of our future descendants who will get to set foot on a planet in a multi star system. They'll get to see many sunsets...or no sunsets.
Space welding. In a vacuum, you don't need welding materials to get two metals to fuse - they will do it on their own if you place them close enough
But they need to be the same material, and the surface needs to be free of oxidation.
Imagine having two blocks of pure aluminum or iron in a vacuum. If you touch them together they'll get stuck, and fuse, like a weld. Why? Because the atoms each block is made out of don't know which block they belong to. On Earth this doesn't happen due to oxygen in the atmosphere. If you scrub off the surface layer of a piece of metal the new surface comes into contact with oxygen, and oxidizes pretty much instantly.
Nope, Too Big. *leaves
That there are 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, and that number is likely to at least double as Hubble goes further and observes more of the universe.
It's insane to think that we live on a mere speck within the Milky Way galaxy, and that there are possibly 199,999,999,999 other galaxies out there, each separated by millions of light years. The enormity of the universe is mind-boggling.
We'll Never Get Anywhere Soon, Will We?homer simpson space GIF Giphy
After traveling since 1977, Voyager 1 has now reached about 20 Light-HOURS distance from the Sun. Vast does not begin to describe the Universe
Voyager 1 travels at 38,000 mph or about 17 kilometers per second. It has taken 43 years to travel from earth to where it is now, 21.2 billion kilometers away.
Speed of light is about 1.07 billion kilometers per hour.
Voyager 1 would then be approximately 22.1 billion kilometers from the sun. 20.65 light hours away.
That's insane! 17 kilometers per second and it is a tiny fraction of the speed of light.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.