For a collector of the curious I must say that quite literally the most curious thing we get to look at is right above our heads! We, as humans, are curious to be sure but what of our close and not so close neighbors in the universe around us? Scientists have discovered things that have boggled our minds and fueled our imaginations since the first time we asked “What’s up there?” Though we don’t have all the answers yet, we live in a curiously wonderful world where some of these things can be speculated and seen from the safety of our home planet through telescopes. And some of the things we’ve seen…well, they are curious indeed!
1. If you are ever able to find a pool big enough to fit the planet Saturn into…it would float. Don’t ask me how they know this or how they could even test it!
2. Jupiter is heavier than all the other planets put together. I would say obviously.
3. If a piece of the sun the size of a pinhead were to be placed on Earth, you could not safely stand within 90 miles of it!
4. Neutron stars are created from the core of the massive stars during a supernova explosion. These are fascinating dense objects and are only 10 miles in diameter. One teaspoonful or sugar cube of neutron star weighs about 100 million tons.
5. Scientists speculate that after the Big Bang the universe was made of liquid.
6. The Horsehead nebula is a “dark nebula” that is made of dust and gas. Though very dark that it blots out the light of stars behind it, the nebula is busy forming stars of its own inside.
7. They say space is a vacuum that creates no sound…at least not those we can hear on our own. NASA spacecraft hovering above our outer planets have collected radio emissions and when converted to sound waves so that we can hear it…well, it sounds like our solar system is singing! Curiously eerie and wonderful at the same time!
8. Castor, located in the constellation Gemini is made up of many stars. Although it appears in the sky as a single point of light, Castor is actually a system made of six stars: three sets of binary stars, all whirling around a common center of mass.
9. The largest known star is VY Canis Majoris; a red hypergiant star in the Canis Major constellation, located about 5,000 light-years from Earth. Its upper size is more than 1,540 times the size of the Sun. Placed in our Solar System, its surface would extend out past the orbit of Saturn!
10. Recent studies have found that supernovas vibrate like giant speakers and emit an audible hum before exploding.
11. 1% of the static on your TV set between stations is left over from the Big Bang.
12. Pulsars are so strong that if a neighboring sun is close by, it will get trapped in it’s rotation and eventually get “eaten”.
13. It is believed that in the center of every galaxy in our universe are supermassive black holes.
14. Sagittarius B is an alcohol cloud made of an octillion (and yes, that is a measurement) liter of vinyl alcohol.
15. In the constellation Cancer, there is a planet made primarily of diamonds. My, scientists are curious creatures! How on Earth could you determine it!? Ahh, carbon.
16. On Saturn there is a storm with a hexagonal pattern that has lasted over 30 years!
17. Supermassive black holes make real shooting stars! Sometimes, the velocity of the black hole is so great that it flings out stars at over 500 miles a second! These are called hypervelocity stars…with reason.
18. It is theorized that a lightning bolt a trillion times greater than that on Earth was emitted from the center of our galaxy.
19. Sometimes, we can see black holes as quasars…if they eat up enough light and energy to emit it back to us that is. The known quasars lie on the edge of our known universe.
20. There is a binary star planet discovered that was named after the famous Tatooine of “Star Wars”.
21. There is a brown dwarf star so cold that it’s surface temperature is only 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For a while, it was considered a planet!
22. The center of the galaxy has mass quantities of ethyl formate. So, if ever given the chance, they suppose the galaxy would taste like raspberries and smell like rum since ethyl formate is what gives raspberries their taste and rum its smell.
23. We are all made of star dust that is 13.8 Billion years old…I just found that curiously agreeable!