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Alright, 'bout to get a little nerdy here for a minute. But what can I say, I'm obsessed with this little (huge) planet, the stardust that surrounds it, and all the wild miracles that exist within it. I feel like maybe my habit of lying on the floor and thinking about life for multiple hours on end has perhaps turned me into a bit of a nerd wanting to know every little detail of this place.
The Universe is epic. It's freaking stunning! And magical beyond belief. How the heck is all of this happening?! All at once?!! Life has always been, and continues to be, so trippy to me. And so to celebrate that (and calm it, LOL), I've decided to dump some of my thoughts into interesting articles so that other people can marvel at the world with me. (Please?)
So I present to you: "A Universe of Thoughts," my newest and nerdiest series. Where Faith dumps her 110 percent full brain into some mildly sensible words. :)
1. The Universe is getting bigger.
So, in the 1920s there was an astronomer named Edwin Hubble. He is the one who made the revolutionary discovery that the universe is not static, but rather expanding. However, scientists thought that the gravity of matter existing in the universe would inevitably slow such expansion, or possibly even lead to it contracting.
Then, in 1998 the Hubble Space Telescope found that the Universe is actually expanding faster than it used to be. They discovered this by studying very distant supernovas. After this new information was released, scientists went on to find that an inexplainable force, known as dark matter, was indeed accelerating the Universe's expansion.
Dark matter remains to this day as one of the greatest mysteries in science, as its detection remains elusive to scientists.
2. When you look up into the sky, you are looking back in time.
Trippy, right? But it's true! And here's why: The stars we are looking up at are very far away from us. Therefore, that light has taken a lot of time to travel across space to reach us.
For example, the star called Vega is relatively close at about 25 lightyears away, so really we are seeing a light that left 25 years ago. Or take Betelgeuse for example, a constellation within Orion. It's 640 lightyears away! Meaning, the starlight you're looking at left around the year 1380... crazy, right?
3. A huge, giant cloud of alcohol exists in space. Yep.
In Sagittarius B (a giant molecular cloud), there lies an insanely large sum of alcohol. Ready for this? Within Sagittarius B, there are 10 billion-billion-billion (what number is that even??) litres of alcohol. What?!
The alcohol, however, is not the tolerable, tasty stuff we know down here on Earth. It is, however, an important organic molecule, and it even offers scientists clues into how life-forming substances come to exist.
4. The biggest mountain in the solar system exists on Mars.
On planet Mars exists the largest mountain within our solar system. It is a ginormous shield volcano, reaching 26km tall and, get this, 600km across. To give you a comparison, it's about three times the height of Mount Everest.
How wild is that?!
5. A day on Venus is longer than a year.
Huh? Let me explain. Venus is actually the slowest rotating planet within our solar system. In fact, it takes longer to completely rotate, then it does to finish it's orbit, meaning that the planet actually has days that last even longer than years do.
One year on Venus is equal to 224 Earth days. And one day on Venus is equal to 243 Earth days.
Venus is also known to be the wildest and most hostile of the planets. It has extremely frequent electric storms, it is covered in clouds of sulphuric acid, and has incredibly high CO2 ratings.
6. The largest diamond exists in space.
The discovery of this epic diamond in our galaxy was found in 2004. It measures out to be 4,000km across and has 10 billion-trillion-trillion carats in its core! And it's a collapsed star. So dope.
This "diamond in the sky" is about 50 lightyears from Earth.
7. A teaspoon of a neutron star weighs about a billion tons.
In the Universe, when an event such as a massive star exploding occurs, it can form something called a neutron star. These stars are so dense that even a teaspoon of its material is said to weigh more than Mount Everest. Wild.
This explosion can send the star spinning up to insane speeds of 600 rotations per second. Think about that. It spins around 600 times in one second. It's a wild world out there.
8. Over one million Earths could fit in the Sun.
Wild, right? That our planet could fit into the sun over a million times, and yet, the Sun is still considered fairly small in the grand scheme of the Universe. In fact, the Sun is considered a G2 dwarf star.
Whether you want to see the Sun as massive or fairly small, there's no arguing that it does a brilliant job of retaining life on Earth.
9. All the stars, planets, and galaxies that can be seen make up only four percent of the universe.
Yep, you heard right, only four percent. So what is the rest? The other 96 percent of the Universe is made up of dark energy and dark matter. A substance that scientists cannot see, detect, or fully comprehend.
As stated in number one, dark matter is incredibly mysterious and elusive to this day.
10. We are all made of stardust.
Sounds like poetry, right? But the reality is that humans and our galaxy have about 97 percent of the same kind of atoms, and almost all the elements of life on Earth can be traced to the burning of a star's core. Everything that makes up life upon Earth—even our bodies—are made from stardust.
As Carl Sagan said, “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.”
A quote from National Geographic, "Everything we are and everything in the Universe and on Earth originated from stardust, and it continually floats through us even today. It directly connects us to the universe, rebuilding our bodies over and again over our lifetimes."
I love that.