20 Out Of This World Facts About The Universe That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet
We’ve compiled a list of the 20 most incredible facts about the universe you will ever come across. The infinite expanse of stars and galaxies are riddled with mysteries which leading scientists and experts are yet to explore. In their quest to unearth the hidden secret of the universe, startling facts and information have emerged - 20 of which we’ve featured below.
1. When you look into the night sky, you are looking back in time.
When we gaze at stars in the night sky, we are actually looking into the past. This happens because light emitted from a star has to travels many light years ahead to actually become visible to our eyes. For example, Orion is 640 light-years away, so the light left the star around 1370 is what we are seeing now.
2. The Hubble telescope allows us to look back billions of years into the past
NASA releases some incredible images of space, from time to time, and it’s made possible with The Hubble Telescope. Here’s an image which is a collection of 10,000 images captured by The Hubble.
3. You can watch the Big Bang on your television
Cosmic background radiation is an after effect of the Big Bang, the event that allegedly gave birth to the universe. This can actually be seen on television where the old fuzzy noise we saw contains 1% of the same radiation.
4. There’s a giant cloud of alcohol in Sagittarius B
Sagittarius B, is a huge cloud of vinyl alcohol whizzing in space near the Milky Way. It’s important as it leaves crucial information for scientists about how early life forms originated in space.
5. There’s a planet-sized diamond in Centaurus named after a Beatles song
A planet , made completely of diamond, which has been called Lucy by scientists after the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” can be found 50 light years away in Centaurus and weighs in a mind boggling 10 billion-trillion-trillion carats.
6. It takes 225 million years for our Sun to travel around the galaxy
While our planets in the solar system circumnavigate the Sun, the star itself it on a orbit around the Milky Way. And if we’re counting in humans years, it takes 225 million years to complete the journey.
7. Our solar system’s biggest mountain is on Mars
The tallest mountain in our solar system is Olympus Mons, located on Mars. It’s calculated to be three times taller than Everest, spanning 600 kilometers across and 26 kilometers in height.
8. Uranus spins on its side, with some rather strange results
Uranus is not just unique because of its strange spinning, but the consequences of that effect results in 42 consecutive years of summer sunlight followed by another 42 consecutive winter darkness.
9. A year on Venus is shorter than its day
Venus is the slowest rotating planet in our solar system - it takes longer to finish a rotation on its axis than orbit the entire Sun!
10. Neutron stars are the fastest spinning objects known in the universe
The fastest spinning known pulsar, a neutron star which emits a radiation beam as light, cycles on a whopping 70,000 km per hour speed.
11. A spoonful of a neutron star weighs about a billion ton
Neutron stars are unimaginably dense, in fact one spoonful of one such star would weigh around a billion tons!
12. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the most distant human-made object from Earth
In 1977, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were released into space as an ambitious project and are still cruising the outskirts of our galaxy and maybe beyond to help us explore space even further.
13. Voyager 1 captured the most distant photograph of Earth
The same spacecraft, Voyager 1, took the most distant photograph of Earth: Voyager 1 took a shot of the Earth from the far reaches of space in 1990, and the small speck at the end of the image that is the world we’re living on right now became known as the Pale Blue Dot. Astronomer Carl Sagan noted,“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”
14. Scientists are looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth
One of the most exciting mysteries of the universe is a quest to find aliens, or as termed by scientists a project called The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), where they are pulling n all data about extraterrestrial life on other planets through evidence they have at their hands.
15. It is estimated there are 400 billion stars in our galaxy
Our own Sun is one of 400 billion others, some astoundingly larger, some smaller, in the Milky Way alone.
16. There could be 500 million planets capable of supporting life in our galaxy
“Goldilocks Planets” are habitable planets which fall into a specific zone around the star to make life sustainable on it. Many factors come into play to get this perfect distance such as temperature, atmospheric content, water, chemical compounds on the surface etc.
17. There are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe
Based on extensive calculations, using data from the Hubble Telescope and as far as it can see into space, there’s a probable 170 billion galaxies besides our own Milky Way.
18. There could be an infinite number of universes
Speculative theories in advanced branches of science such as mathematics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics have summed up that we could be living in a “multiverse”- a convergence of an infinite number of universes.
19. The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe
Our brain is a blueprint for the most complex network in the universe, with over a hundred billion neurons and quadrillion connections- this system isn’t even the tip of the iceberg which we know about what our brains have the potential to achieve.
20. We are all made of stardust
Carl Sagan beautifully summarises this fact, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” In fact, every element on Earth transpired from a burning heart of a star.
I’m new to this, but I love what I’m reading in the feed lately, so, trying my hand!
What if the greatest diplomacy problem in dealing with humans is that they seem to lie about past events constantly, even to someone who witnessed the same events? Then it’s discovered that humans have recording devices of all kinds– security cameras, diaries, mp3– and the problem becomes clear. Humans lie, but not that badly. The poor, fretful creatures just have a species-wide brain defect. Kindly aliens take to recording every event and encounter they can, then preface every diplomatic meeting with a record swap so the humans can brush up on what actually happened and the aliens can get some insight into what the humans have been falsely thinking happened. Ambassadors to Earth get supplementary training in how to handle people with memory impairments, and human ambassadors to other worlds start hiring aliens– ANY aliens– to be their assistants. Everything smooths out after that.
Religion. Aliens intellectually understand how religion works and that there are different kinds, but they don’t really “get” it. The biggest confusion regards whether the humans, who do seem to have some sort of empathic abilities at least, are actually communing with incorporeal beings/forces… and if so, why some humans seem able to commune with more than one, while other humans not at all. Notable scholars have decided that the rituals and paraphernalia have nothing to do with the beings or forces being communed with, but muddied the matter by suggesting that the rituals may be important for a human’s ability to commune. Alien non-scholars, eager to accommodate this new species and prove that space is nothing to be afraid of– nobody wants a repeat of the H’j’g’rcxin Xenophobia disaster– simply treat any and all religious requests as vital necessities for their human guests and crewmen. Accommodation becomes so ordinary that when the first religious argument erupts between an engineer and a navigator, the biggest shock is that one of them objects to the other wearing a turban, something which does not affect work performance in any way.
Styling. Alien species each have their own primary sense that they rely on, and when they find out that humans primarily rely on sight, well. Reliant on sight means that surface patterns and colorings are particularly important to them, right? They will have evolved to be individually distinctive in appearance? New human crew are automatically assigned a mentor from another vision-reliant species, so someone will be able to tell them apart until the auditory and pheromone labels are attached to their uniforms. Then Abby comes to mess with a new haircut and sparkly chapstick one day, and the mentor has no idea who she is or how she got aboard.
Word of Stabby the Space Roomba spreads, and soon every ship with a human captain or sufficiently high number of human crew has a Stabby. Names vary, but most of them are Stabby. One ship becomes low-key known for sending out broadcasts of Stabby McStabberson, son of Stabberson, son of Stabber, and its adventures stabbing juice boxes in zero-G.
Aesthetics. Humans have a bewildering tendency to open starmaps or sneak into the scientific observation module at odd times, including with a mate or offspring, and just stare at open space. Not even particular stars, although they like to study and talk about particular stars and clusters at times, but just, the whole of space. Why do they do it? Nobody knows. Humans behave as though intoxicated during these times, but productivity lowers dramatically if they are barred access– if barring access even works in the first place, given humans’ seemingly endless ability to get into places where they aren’t supposed to be.
Fire. Due to different atmospheric content, inability to heal from burns, or just plain never needing to cook their food, no alien species has ever utilized fire as a tool. When humans say that learning to use fire may have been the start of their civilization, everybody believes that the humans are just talking a tough game to make up for their lower technology level, or– once they learn about human hierarchies– to compensate for a perceived lack of political status. Then a human sees a catastrophic explosion on a hostile planet and laughs. Then another shushes panicking engineers and smothers an accidental fire with some garments. Then another builds a bonfire out of dead plantlife and a shredded religious document to warm an injured alien crewman after xir endothermic suit is punctured and the planet rotates away from its sun. Humans– soft, cuddly, pack-bonds-even-with-inanimate-objects humans– are comfortably in control of the most terrifying force of disaster the galaxy has ever known. Aliens stop being surprised that we nearly made ourselves extinct so many times in history.
“Why does your larval stage look so similar to your mature stage? How do you know when a human is old enough to leave the Pit of Offspring? Or to mate?”
*Quick note before I start: This is the first installment in a series I’ve called the Lost Colonies which is largely about human society adapting to the strange environments of other worlds. You can read the other installments here: 2,3,4, 5, 6, 7. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing this series, but with my new work schedule I had to bring it to a close. If you’ve enjoyed this story follow me on here for my other writings. Thanks again to everyone who has reblogged, liked, replied, DMed, or otherwise shown their appreciation for this series. It means a lot to me that people enjoyed it and the love you’ve all shown me has really helped keep me going for these last few months.*
An adult Turic sits behind a desk jotting down notes as a recorder takes down the interview for future analysis.
“I understand that this entire ordeal has been stressful for you and your fellow colonists but due to your unique situation we would like to use this opportunity to better understand human culture. Please let me know if we need to stop or if there is anything I can do to make you more comfortable.”
The human, a younger female by the name of Kiara fidgets in her seat.
“No, I’m fine, I just haven’t ever seen an alien before. Hell, until a few months ago no one had ever heard anything but legends of people from outer space.”
The Turic looks down at his notes as he tries to reconcile this information.
“According to our research it says that your colony was originally founded just over 500 Sols ago. Are you saying that in that short amount of time your colony’s knowledge of spacefaring and other sapient races was erased?”
“I guess? What’s a Sol though? How long would that be?”
“Oh, a unit of time measurement based on the solar rotation of your home world. Prior to your race’s colonization of other worlds you referred to it as a year. For reference, you are estimated to be 22 Sols old.”
“Then yeah, that makes a lot of sense. We didn’t really have permanent settlements and had to keep moving. One of the older stories said that we came to our world in a fiery ship and that the remains of it could be found out in the wastes once a cycle. That’s what we call it when the Thaw comes back to the same point.”
“I have heard some of the other colonists mention this Thaw. This is the name for the habitable zone in which your colony exists, correct?”
“Yeah, you live in the Thaw, you move with the Thaw. The Thaw keeps you from burning or freezing as long as you work with it. It protects you, feeds you and keeps you alive, but it always moves so you need to move with it.”
The Turic frantically scribbles notes on its data pad.
“Fascinating. It appears as though your civilization has come to mythologize a natural phenomenon the way your ancestors on earth frequently would. Your colony was founded on a planet that was almost what we would call tidally locked. In essence one side of it always faced your neighboring star and it rotated as it spun around it so that the same side always faced it at all times. However the spin was off by a small fraction so that the planet gradually rotated to have a day/night cycle, but this cycle was so slow that it took roughly 50 Sols for a single rotation. This would have made for a narrow band of surviveable temperatures but one that was constantly shifting albeit at a slow pace.”
Kiara stared blankly at the Turic.
“Sorry, that went a little over my head. What I think I caught from that though is that one side of my world faced the light and one side faced the dark and we lived in the space between. Which yeah, that’s the Thaw.”
“I apologize, this is fascinating for me, I’m just curious as to how or why your people took what appears to be such a large step backwards in their technological capabilities.”
“Well, like I said, some of our stories say that we came from a fiery ship and that it can be found in the wastes. If my people really did come from another world, maybe we crashed and our technology broke. We do tend to keep on the move and we usually leave things behind when they break and can’t be fixed. I wasn’t old enough to remember seeing the great ship when my parents took me there and it was taken by the scorch a long time ago.”
The Turic stared at his data pad wondering how he would even begin to unravel all of this.
“Well, hopefully we can find some solid answers to this mystery someday, but I would like for you to tell me more about your colony. What is life like on your world?”
Kiara straightened up in her seat and smiled.
“My name is Kiara Williams. I’m a frost melt like my mother and father before me. We work on the very edge of the Thaw to make sure that the glaciers, mountains and streams run in the right ways when it comes time for the Thaw to reach them in full. We scout lands in the cold to find new sites for villages. We dig breaks in the ice to make sure that the largest sheets fall away from farms and villages. It’s bitter cold and dangerous work but it’s important and sometimes exciting.”
The Turic stared in an expression that would have been the human equivalent of slack-jawed.
“You colony had the technological equivalence of pre-industrialization. Are you saying that your people geoformed an ice world to ensure proper farmland using little more than steel tools and furs?”
“Well there are plenty of other jobs too. My brother is a farmer out in the warmer parts of the Thaw and I have a cousin who lives on the other end of it as a waste reclaimer.”
“And what is it that your cousin does?”
“He goes out into the scorch looking for broken things that can be fixed or things that were left behind by accident. Most people say that’s not a job for an honest person, but he has a real knack for finding stuff to sell. I heard he even managed to find a few relics off the great ship.”
The Turic made a note to track down this cousin immediately.
“Are those the only professions available?”
“Of course not. There’s bakers and builders and law makers but we do have to keep moving with the Thaw so most of us try not to stay in one place too long. It doesn’t help to get too attached. We can usually only get 3 or 4 harvests out of a plot of land before it gets too hot to grow. That’s why frost melts like me are so important to help scout the farms in advance.”
The Turic glanced at the blinking light on his recorder that was letting him know that his allotted time was nearly up.
“I’ll need to let you get back to your family unit soon, but is there anything else you can tell me about your colony or its culture?”
Kiara sighed. “Not really. Being a frost melt, I spend most of my days surrounded by ice as far as the eye can see. It’s strange and beautiful though. There’s massive mountains made of nothing but ice and I know that if I simply walk for a few hours towards out into the frost it would be cold enough to kill, but I know that I’m the one who gets to tame it. At times when the wind is calm I can breath the cold in deep and look out to the stars and wonder what it would be like to explore them too.”
Kiara looked down at her feet self consciously and laughed.
“I guess I can actually get to do that now huh?”
The Turic adopted the human expression of a smile.
“There is a lot of unexplored space out there. I’m sure the human race would be proud to have you back to help them seek it out.”
This monochrome view is the last image taken by the imaging cameras on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. It looks toward the planet’s night side, lit by reflected light from the rings, and shows the location at which the spacecraft would enter the planet’s atmosphere hours later.
This location – the site of Cassini’s atmospheric entry – was at this time on the night side of the planet, but would rotate into daylight by the time Cassini made its final dive into Saturn’s upper atmosphere, ending its remarkable 13-year exploration of Saturn. Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Scadrial is the only planet in the system existing within the habitable zone. It has no moon. The planet itself has been moved twice in it’s existence, once by Rashek to be closer to the sun and once by Sazed to it’s original position. It is unknown if Khriss’ star charts are to scale for distance from other planets.
Beyond Scadrial lies two large gas giants designated Aagal Nod and Aagal Uch. Aagal Nod has six large moons and Aagal Uch has five. Aagal Uch also has a set of rings most likely composed of rock and ice. Beyond them lies a comet belt which separates the gas giants from two unnamed dwarf planets. It is unknown what sort of presence these planets and moons have on Shadesmar but they are most likely uninhabited.
Retrogrades are astronomically an illusion where by a planet appears to be moving backwards across the sky, due to earth ‘overtaking’ the planet in their rotation around the Sun.
In relation to “As above, so below”, the energetic affect that retrograde planets conduct is an internalising of that particular planetary energies.
Some keywords for retrogrades are
The purpose of retrogrades are typically to 'tighten’ loose ends in different areas of our lives - the planet involved will indicate what aspect of ones personality will undergo the keywords, the sign of the retrograde will be how, the house area is what area of our life.
Mercury Rx - ¾ times a year: What it can bring + How to make the most of it
Mercury Rules: Communication/Thought Process/Technology/Short distance travel/Comprehension Ability/Local town area/Siblings
Update your technology prior retrograde
Keep a careful eye on your technology devices - DON’T LOSE THEM (in a cafe or on a bus for example)
Be prepared to walk into a room and completely forget what you went in there for (more than usual)
Get your car checked out
Don’t be surprised if your regular bus or train is late
Also don’t surprised if you hear from an old friend
…or an ex
Communications during this time have gone down the toilet so expect things such as:
Forgetting what you’re saying mid conversation
Confusion in understanding
People saying things they don’t mean
Or things that they do mean but didn’t want to say
And if it’s communication via technology:
Autocorrect may be acting more like a little shit than usual
Messages not sending
And if you’re old school, letters in the mail may end up in Africa somehow (jokes - but things can get lost in the mail)
Don’t make big purchases at this time if you can, especially electronic equipment
DON’T START new projects, go back and tidy up the old ones
Make more lists than usual
Best not to start a job during this time either (but if you have to, make sure you read the fine print)
Wherever you have Gemini/Virgo in your chart, these areas of your life may go a little bit haywire and will need re-assessing
If you’re a Gemini/Virgo Rising, your vitality may feel a bit low during this time (since the 1st house rules the physical body). Give yourself plenty of rest at this time.
Here’s some tips to take advantage of the Mercury retrograde
If you have a blog, go back to it and edit it
Clean out your technology such as deleting photos you don’t want anymore on your phone
Review all contacts and documents before signing them
Real all emails and important documents before sending them
Backup your digital data
Get in touch with old friends
This is a time of closure of understanding things and communications with other people
Re-learn something or go back and study an old topic to refine it
Think about exactly how you want to phrase something before speaking it (is it kind? Is it for the highest good of another?)
Finish any project if you haven’t yet, especially if it’s a writing project!
P.S: There’s nothing to fear about retrogrades, in fact, they can be quite amusing sometimes (when you know what’s going on!) and this is a great time for cleaning things up to perfect your life path ands mission.
(A table of contents is available. This series will remain open for additional posts and the table of contents up-to-date as new posts are added.)
Part Ten: How a Planet Gains Seasons & Plotting Environmental Zones
Each of the planets you choose to create will have some kind of temperature changes throughout their year, creating seasons. There are a couple of things that impact how seasons look on the planets, most importantly, the planet’s orbital eccentricity and its axial tilt.
First off, the seasons are not created by the Earth moving closer and further from the sun throughout its orbit, but the seasons are lengthened and shortened by it. The less eccentric (more circular) your planet’s orbit, the more regular the seasons will be; and the more eccentric (more elliptical), the more extreme the seasons. Remembering that planets orbit faster the closer to their sun they are, a planet with a higher eccentricity will have longer, more intense winters and shorter, more intense summers. With Earth’s orbit having an eccentricity of less than 0.05, the Earth’s seasons tend to be pretty similar in terms of length throughout the year.
Planets rotate around a star in an orbit, but they also rotate as they go around that path. Stretching an imaginary piece of paper across the system from the star to the planet as it orbits is what’s called the orbital plane. The axial tilt is the angle at which the planet itself rotates within its own orbit in relation to that orbital plane:
Axial tilts can range from 0-180°. Planets with a prograde spin (spinning the same direction as their sun) will have axial tilts between 0-90°, and the sun will rise in the east and set in the west; while those with tilts from 90-180° spin retrograde (the opposite direction as their sun) and their sun will do the opposite.
Generally speaking, the planets with higher tilt:
have more extreme seasons,
have less snow and ice,
have lower humidity,
have less cloud cover,
and absorb more light than it reflects,
while planets with lower tilt exhibit the opposite properties.
Remember: If you want your planet to be habitable by humanoids, your axial tilt should be between 0-80° for prograde planets and 100-180° for retrograde planets! More severe tilts create more severe seasonal patterns that are likely to be unfriendly to humanoid creatures.
Tidally Locked Planets:
If your planet orbits as the same speed as its rotation, it’s possible for the planet to become tidally locked with its star. When this happens, the same side of the planet faces the sun the entire time it orbits the sun. This means that only part of the planet gets sun, making one side brutally hot and sun-scorched, and the other perpetually freezing and dark.
Keeping in mind how you want your planet’s overall climate to be, the habitability, and what direction you’d like your sunrises and sunsets to be, you can pick any number in that 0-180° range. Once you’ve chosen your value, you can then start drawing out where the equatorial bands fall across your planet. Some values could give you some really wild and unexpected results, so I highly suggest drawing it out:
Lie down on your back on a patch of natural ground and close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Imagine that you can feel the earth turning underneath you – you should be able to feel a pull towards your head or your feet, maybe off at an angle. Reach down deep to connect not only to the centre of the planet, but to the rotations of the cosmos that you are a part of. Visualise ripples radiating from you out into the world, and more radiating back into you. Draw energy from all around you, above and below, the constant motion of the universe.
Ok but aliens who don’t reproduce sexually finding out about periods. Just like. Being so confused when another officer just tries to make sure they have these odd little cotton things, and for a while thinking they’re for bullet wounds, only to find out what they’re REALLY for.
Tbh like not even them being disgusted just like. Wait you expel one of your most important bodily fluids for five of your planets rotations and no one is bothered by this? You’re expected to carry your duties on as normal???