30 Scary & Weird Facts About Space – Part 2

To read part 1 of this series, click here.

11Galactic Fountains

Galactic Fountains

When a star goes supernova, the rapidly expanding bubble of hot, metal-rich gas from it hits the edge of the galactic disk where it suddenly encounters much less resistance from a much lower density of the interstellar medium, allowing it to form a chimney perpendicular to the disk. After arcing well outside the disk, this material then cools and rains down over a large portion of the galaxy, seeding stellar nurseries with metals that will later become planets.

12Stealing Black Hole's Energy

Stealing Black Hole's Energy

Due to angular momentum, when really massive spinning stars collapse to form black holes, they start spinning faster and faster. In fact, some black holes spin millions of times a second. This spinning creates a volume of dragged space-time called the ergosphere, which is escapable. Theoretically, any injected matter could capture some of the spinning black hole's angular momentum. British mathematician Roger Penrose hypothesized a way to steal some energy from a rotating black hole by injecting matter into the ergosphere and capturing some of the spinning black hole's angular momentum.

13Solar Siblings

Solar Siblings

Turbulence in stellar nurseries will cause groups of stars from the same cloud to be scattered relatively quickly. There’s no reason to think that the current nearest stars to the sun are our siblings, though we probably do have sibling stars out there somewhere. Scientists have probably found a star (HD 162826) that formed from the same molecular cloud as our sun about 110 light-years away. This star might have shared the stellar nursery the sun was born in about 4.6 billion years ago. This star is 15 percent more massive than the sun, so it can’t be called a solar twin, just a solar sibling.

14Galactic Orbit

Galactic Orbit

Our solar system revolves around a giant black hole in the middle of the galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius. This galactic orbit takes about 250 million years, so the last time the earth was on the other side of the galaxy, the dinosaurs were around. Dust clouds at the center of our galaxy however obscure this black hole from ever being visible from earth. If we could however remove those dust clouds, then we would be able to see a fireball rise every night rivaling the moon in brightness with a raging black hole in the center.

15Asteroid Belt

Asteroid Belt

The classic movie portrayal of a crowded asteroid belt in our solar system where the asteroids are only meters apart is inaccurate. In reality, the average distance between asteroids is around 965,000 km (600,000 miles) and if you were to fly through it, a collision would be unlikely. Ceres, which is supposed to be the largest object (with a 473 km radius) in the asteroid belt, alone is estimated to hold about a third of the asteroid belt's mass. In fact, the asteroid belt is so not-dense that when sending probes through it, mission control doesn’t even bother calculating a clear path. The chances of hitting something are so low that it’s a waste of time to worry about it. NASA estimates that the odds of hitting an asteroid if you just randomly shoot a probe at the asteroid belt are 1/1,000,000,000.

16Black Hole Collision

Black Hole Collision

In 2015, scientists detected, for the first time, the merger of 2 black holes in a galaxy 17 billion lightyears away by measuring the gravitational waves emitted by the collision. As they spun around each other violently, they released more energy in the form of gravitational waves than the combined light from all the stars in the Milky Way in 4400 years.

17Black Hole Bombs

Black Hole Bombs

If we were to surround a rotating black hole with a mirror and shoot a laser beam inside it, the beam would get exponentially more and more powerful by stealing energy from the hole via superradiant scattering. It could eventually overpower the mirror and result in a powerful explosion on par with a supernova. We could prevent these black hole bombs from going off by harvesting some of this energy. Using this type of energy we can theoretically power civilization for millions if not billions of years. In fact, these black hole civilizations may be the last home for any species in a dying universe.

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18Element Creation

Element Creation

All stars fuse hydrogen into helium. Medium stars, like our Sun will eventually fuse helium into carbon and oxygen before eventually turning into white dwarfs. It will take stars many times the mass of our Sun to fuse heavier elements. After exhausting helium they’ll burn carbon to neon in centuries, neon to oxygen in a year, oxygen to silicon in months, and silicon to iron in a day, before imploding. This implosion bounces off the iron core and causes a supernova explosion. Above iron, heavier elements are mainly created in supernovae, where there is lots of energy to spare; however, because these are short-lived and (relatively) rare events, elements above iron are rarer than those below.

19White Dwarfs

White Dwarfs

After medium-sized stars like our Sun die and explode into a spectacular planetary nebula, what remains of its core will become a white dwarf. After our sun dies and becomes a white dwarf, it will only be about the size of our earth, but with a surface gravity over 100,000 times higher than Earth's. Eventually, these white dwarf stars will cool into black dwarfs, but this process is theorized to take 100 billion billion years. That’s so far into the future that no regular stars will shine anymore, galaxies will have evaporated, and only then will the first white dwarf turn into the first black dwarf. Planets around white dwarfs could be humanity's last home right before the death of the universe.

20TON 618

TON 618

TON 618 is a hyperluminous quasar that possesses an ultramassive black hole which is the largest black hole ever found. It has been observed to be consuming galaxies' worth of matter and is shining with the brightness of a hundred trillion stars, visible from 18 billion light-years away. The back hole is 66 billion times the mass of our sun, greater than the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy combined.


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