Cosmic Curiosities: Amazing Space Facts You Never Knew

A P Riythisha
IGCSE Junior
Excel Global School

Fact One: The Ninth Planet

Everyone knows that there are eight planets in our solar system. The planet Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) because it did not meet the three criteria that the IAU uses to describe a full sized planet. Now a theory states that there is a ninth planet orbiting the sun in the outer part of the solar system. Even though there is no evidence for the existence of this planet, it is considered as a hypothetical planet. The size of this planet is said to be that of Neptune and its distance from the sun is said to be 55 billion miles.

Fact Two: Earth Sized Telescope

Capturing black holes in space presents a significant challenge to astronomers. They compare it to taking a picture of a doughnut on the moon from Earth, highlighting the difficulty of the task. To accomplish this feat, an extremely powerful telescope is required, possibly one the size of Earth. However, astronomers have already succeeded in creating such a telescope by linking eight radio observatories from around the world. As a result, the very first image of our black hole, Sagittarius A*, was captured.

Sagittarius A* - Wikipedia
The very first image of a black hole

Fact Three: Image of the Milky Way

When we search for a picture of the Milky Way on any website, we may come across an image like this. But have you ever wondered how a picture of our galaxy can be taken when we can’t even leave our solar system? The exact image of the Milky Way has not yet been captured. The galaxy displayed in this picture is not the Milky Way, but a galaxy that is said to have the same appearance as ours. Using data collected from observatories around the world, astronomers have determined that our galaxy is a spiral galaxy and the galaxy that most closely resembles the Milky Way is NGC 3949.

Image of the Milky Way Galaxy

Fact Four: Zombie Planets

When a star goes supernova and destroys the planets orbiting it, it can give rise to a new type of planet known as a “zombie planet”. These planets are formed from the remnants of the destroyed planets and are often in orbit around the rapidly spinning core of the supernova, known as a pulsar. These planets are called “zombie” because they are essentially reanimated from the remains of dead planets. The most famous zombie planet is a planet named PSR B1257+12, which is also known as “Poltergeist”.

The zombie planet “Poltergeist”

Fact Five: Loudest Sound in the Universe

Binary black hole - Wikipedia

This might sound different because space is a vacuum and sound waves cannot travel through it. It is true that sound cannot travel through space in the form of sound waves. However, when two massive objects such as black holes merge, they create ripples in spacetime known as gravitational waves. These waves can be detected by specialized instruments such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo detector, and the data is then analyzed by astronomers. From this data, sounds are created based on the frequency and amplitude of the waves. The loudest sound ever detected in the universe is the gravitational wave signal produced during the merging of two black holes. This event is so powerful that it produces a signal that can be heard as a sound, and is one of the most energetic events in the universe.

Fact Six: Largest Star in the Universe

The universe is full of mysteries that, when revealed, could leave us mind-blown. There is a vast expanse of the universe that we have yet to explore, but even the parts we have explored have revealed wonders. We know that the sun is large, so much so that it could fit 1,300,000 Earths inside of it. However, when compared to UY Scuti, the sun is merely a dot. UY Scuti is a red hypergiant star that is so large it could fit 5 billion suns inside of it.

Fact 7: Working Universe

Finally, here is what is happening in our universe every single second: the sun fuses 600,000,000 tons of hydrogen into helium through nuclear fusion occurring at an incredibly fast rate. Every second, 60,000 new stars are born while 1,200 stars die. Additionally, 120 new black holes are formed. We know that the universe is expanding, but did you know that it is expanding at a rate of 1,200,000 miles every second? We are living in a truly busy universe.

More Blogs