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From the entire structure of the known universe to galaxies that are 13 billion years old we take a look at 10 space phenomena that we can’t explain!
10: 13 Billion Years Old Galaxies:
If you picture what hell looks like, the image in your mind might be a good representation of the early universe. A dense burning mass of electrons and protons. In fact it took almost half a billion years for the universe to cool down enough to allow the formation of neutrons. Once that happened stars and galaxies could begin to form. The Subaru Telescope run by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Hawaii, recently discovered seven of the earliest galaxies ever. These faint pinpricks of light are over 13 billion light-years away!
9: The Incredible Iciness of Saturn’s Rings:
There are several things in our own solar system that although they are familiar they’re quite mysterious. The icy rings around Saturn are one of the most well-known. We do know some things about them: we know that their shape comes in part from tidal forces and we know what they’re made up of. We also know that like most of the planets in our solar system they were formed around 4.4 billion years ago. But there are several things we don’t know about these icy space phenomena. For example how are they able to maintain such a perfectly flat shape when the planet has many moons? Why are they made up almost entirely of ice and most importantly how were they formed?
8: Gamma-Ray Bursts:
A gamma-ray burst releases more energy in just a few seconds than average star will in its entire existence. They’re often referred to as the brightest electromagnetic events in the universe and thankfully we’ve only seen them in distant galaxies. Astrophysicist Martin Cirque from UC Berkeley was quoted as saying they have been known for 40 years but their cause is still unknown. Some have been correlated with very distant galaxies but most correlate with nothing.
7: The Shape of Dark Matter:
Dark matter is in an interesting topic. It’s actually a hypothetical form of matter. It doesn’t interact with other kinds of matter in any observable way but it does appear to exert a gravitational pull on visible matter. Although it’s never been physically observed the existence of dark matter is accepted in the scientific community studies that have been done on actual visible matter and other galaxies wouldn’t make any sense unless there are a lot of other things out there pushing in pulling in creating gravitational forces. It’s believed based on discoveries from the Hubble telescope that dark matter has a webby/stringy shape and the assumption is that galaxies have a tendency to cluster around its strands.
6: Cataclysmic Variables:
Stars are not all the same. In our galaxy alone there’s red giants down to red dwarfs. Some of these space phenomena are definitely a little more unique than others. Especially those that come in pairs. There’s actually a class of binary star known as a cataclysmic variable. These white dwarf stars actually strip their partner star of all their gases because they have such an extremely close orbit to each other. White dwarf stars are the cores of red giant stars so to add to the uniqueness of two stars orbiting so closely, both of these stars must have been deep inside a red giant.
5: HD 106906 B – The Distant Monster:
So it makes sense that the further away of a planet is from its parent star the more cold lonely and desolate that planet would seem. Super monster planet HD 106906 B is 11 times bigger than Jupiter. It also has a unique orbit which actually causes scientists to question their understanding of how planets are formed. Let’s consider something more familiar like Neptune. At a distance of 30 astronomical units or AU, Neptune is an incredibly lonely planet is the most distant from the Sun in our solar system. In comparison HD 106906 B’s distance from its parent star is 650 AU- so far from its parent that in comparison Neptune and the Sun could reach out and hug each other. Because of its enormous distance from its parent star astronomers struggle even to explain its existence and this space phenomenon has caused many discrepancies in planetary formation theories.
4: Storms on Uranus:
Astronomers have been befuddled by the second for this family member of our solar system. Typically Uranus would be described as rigidly calm but due to unknown circumstances, it’s currently inundated with raging storms. Scientists theorize that when the planet was halfway through with its 82 year orbit, known as the equinox, it was at its closest position to the Sun which unleashed its full solar fury on the equator. These powerful uranium storms were supposed to let up as Uranus continues to travel around the Sun. This hasn’t happened and scientists aren’t sure why?
3: UV Underproduction:
If there’s one thing that mankind has noticed about the universe overall it’s a tendency to find balances occurring throughout the cosmos. One balance that has been observed is that between hydrogen and ultraviolet light. The two generally exist in well-defined proportions. There are two known ways that UV radiation is produced: giant black holes and unstable young stars. The problem is that there’s actually more radiation than could have been produced by those two things and astronomers have no idea why.
2: KIC 2856960 – The Triple Star System:
Hunting for new planets is nothing out of the ordinary for the Kepler Space Observatory. Several years ago they discovered KIC 2856960. The three gravitationally bound stars consists of 2 dwarf stars which have a third orbiting them. While this magnificent space phenomena that may sound out of the ordinary for the layperson, to these astronomers it was just a run-of-the-mill triplet. Here’s where science nerds get turned on: the binary dwarves cross each other every 6 hours so Kepler was able to observe 4 daily dips in the light curve. Also every 204 days the third star would be eclipsed so there was another slight decline in the observed light. Because of these things astronomers now have more questions than answers.
1: The Entire Structure of the Universe:
Apart from Dark matter, there’s also another force known as dark energy which isn’t really related to dark matter. Dark energy is supposedly the force that’s making the universe expand. Theoretically it’s something like gravity. Scientists constantly perform experiments and take measurements and they can confirm that the universe is expanding all the time and is actually now expanding faster than it used to. They have made several important discoveries some of which are mind-boggling. For example looking into the early universe every point is apparently the same temperature despite the fact that they are causally disconnected. If that didn’t make any sense to you-you’re not alone and that’s why the universe is such a mysterious place.
So what do you think about these unexplained space phenomena? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And be sure to subscribe to our website for more awesome posts like this.