Well you might have heard this song “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong. As beautifully explained in the song, in this world, all the entities that constitutes the part of it, whether living or non-living, are distinct and have separate identities. Likewise, if you put on your thinking hat and expand your horizon towards the edgeless, finiteless universe, you are certainly bound to get amused by a large set of astonishing celestial bodies and their features.
Yuri Gagarin from Russia in his spacecraft named Vostok was the first human to have stepped outside the Earth’s territory in April 1961. Since then Universe has always been fascinating us and mankind is in run to explore more of it. And with each exploration, the results are astounding. Here are some 10 interesting topics which will not only drag but of course inspire you to know more about the astronomical facts.
Welcome to the world of mysteries, the world of amusements, what we call here is the world of astronomy.
10. Helium is the sole liquid that cannot be solidified by lowering its temperature
The term Helium is derived from helios, the Greek word for the Sun. Helium is one of the noble gases which is monoatomic, unreactive, colorless, and odourless. It is the second most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen. Helium is interesting because it is the sole liquid that cannot be solidified by lowering its temperature. Other amazing thing about helium is that it has the lowest melting point among all the elements, and for the same reason it’s been used in the cryogenic researches. It is also fascinating to know, the energy necessary for the hydrogen bomb comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium. Since helium is light weight, most of this gas, has escaped from the Earth’s surface during the time of the Earth’s formation. Hence for this reason, the helium content of the Earth’s atmosphere is only about 1 in 200,000 parts. Some of the important applications of this noble gas are Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Magnetic Resonance Elastograrphy (MRE) for detecting cancer, and also as rocket fuel.
9. Neutron Star are born from the explosive death of another large massive stars
Neutron Stars are born from the explosive death of another large massive stars (stars having 4 to 8 times larger masses than the Sun). During the explosion of the larger stars known as supernova explosions, the protons and electrons of these stars melt into each other to form the neutrons. Neutron stars have the magnetic field and gravitational force million times stronger than that of Earth due to its small size and high density. A neutron star is about 20km in diameter and had the mass of about 1.4 times the Sun.
8. Brown dwarfs are failed stars which are too large to be called as planets and too small to be stars
The sub-stellar objects that resemble a star but do not have any internal energy source to emit light are known as Brown dwarfs. They are failed stars which are too large to be called as planets and too small to be stars. Although brown dwarfs are of reddish to magenta color depending on their temperature, they are called brown because earlier these objects were thought to have dust and later “red dwarfs” already described different type of star. The size of a brown dwarf depends on its mass, age, and other physical properties.
7. White dwarfs are extremely dense and compact with the gravity 350,000 times that of Earth
All stars burning in the universe, though they seem ageless and unchanging, at some point of their lives, eventually stop burning. Similarly when low and medium-mass stars shrink to their final size with no longer nuclear fuel available to burn, these are called as white dwarfs. Because of their large masses in small areas, these stars are extremely dense and compact with the gravity 350,000 times that of Earth. In Milky Way galaxy too, 10% of the stars are White dwarfs but are not visible to naked eye due to their low luminosity.
6. Nebulae cosmic cloud of gas (mainly hydrogen and helium)
The word Nebula is derived from Latin word for “clouds”. Indeed, a nebula is a cosmic cloud of gas (mainly hydrogen and helium), dust and plasma floating in space. More than one nebula is called nebulae. They are beginning of new star as stars are born in cool dense clouds of hydrogen and helium; or the death of the stars as when stars die they eventually explode hot gasses in atomic stage. These are among the most beautiful objects in the universe, glowing with rich colors (reds, blues and greens) and swirls of light. Few nebulae can be seen with naked eye and many more can be detected with a good pair of binoculars.
5. Sloan Great Wall is the largest known structure ever found
The Sloan Great Wall is the largest known structure ever found and measured in the universe spanning over 1.37 light years long. It was discovered on 20th October, 2003 and was found containing the millions of galaxies revealing the large-scale structure resembling the Great Wall. Within it, the wall contains several interesting super clusters. One of the study about super cluster in the Great Wall has revealed a strange spider-like structure of galactic tendrils. The Sloan Great Wall can be seen in this digitally recast contour map of galaxies in the Two Degree Field galaxy survey.
4. Titan -the moon of Saturn is the second largest moon in our solar system
After the moon called Ganymede of Jupiter, Titan, the moon of Saturn is the second largest moon in our solar system. Being a moon with no magnetic field, still it’s larger than planets Mercury and Pluto. Titan is amazing because it is the frozen version of Earth, with its clouds and mysterious, thick, earth-like atmosphere primarily containing nitrogen along with molecules of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Volcanoes with liquid water as lava is regular in this moon. It contains the liquid lava lakes larger than the great lakes on earth, and are only the liquid lakes seen anywhere in the solar system besides Earth. Being atmosphere and weather pattern resembling the Earth almost, Scientists believe Titan as the Earth in its early stage of development.
3. Venus the hottest planet in Solar system
Venus (the second closest planet to the sun) is interesting because though Mercury is closest to the Sun, the average temperature of Venus (735K) is higher than the Mercury’s (442.5K) making it the hottest planet in Solar system. The reason for this is the presence of atmosphere in Venus while absence of it in Mercury. Atmosphere traps the heat from the Sun. Since Mercury has got no atmosphere or thin atmosphere, most of the solar energy that reaches the planet escapes back to the space. The Sun facing side of Mercury receives the heat directly and it is hot, and the other side receives no heat from the Sun and due to lack of atmosphere becomes extremely cold. Venus has got heavy atmosphere containing Carbon dioxide that produces the strongest greenhouse effect to trap the heat and hence weather spreads the heat across the planet making it the hottest planet in the Solar system.
2. Dark Matter undetected form of mass (not in the form of star or planet)
Universe is made up of normal matter (visible matter/ luminous matter), Dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter is the undetected form of mass (not in the form of star or planet) that emits or reflects no light, and hence is not visible. It is fascinating because of the fact that it exists even it is not seen. Scientists have found the proof of its existence through measuring it indirectly by observing its gravitational effects in variety of ways like through Galaxy clusters, Galactic rotation curves, Bullet cluster, Supernovae etc. Strong experimental evidence suggests the existence of dark matter is more than 4 times the existence of luminous matter in the observable universe.
1. Black Hole actually invisible, and only the space telescopes with special tools can help find them
A place in the space with so powerful gravity to squeeze any matter into tiny space through which even light cannot escape is known as black hole. This is because of the presence of great mass in small volume in these holes such that the speed in which the light travels is less than the velocity needed to escape. These holes are actually invisible, and only the space telescopes with special tools can help find them. Like every large galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy too have a supermassive black hole at the center called as Sagittarius. Despite of the number of black holes in the galaxy, we are quite safe because of the great distances between the stars and all the stars are orbiting the center of the Galaxy.
Astronomy is useful because it is grand and it enables us to raise above ourselves. It shows us how small is our body, but how great is our mind that can embrace the whole of this dazzling immensity. Astronomy is so vast that a single life time devoted to research would not be enough to investigate because the universe is limitless and hence the discoveries to be made are too limitless. But still, we should keep on exploring, investigating and revealing the mysteries to know about the space which we share and to fully understand the world in which we live. The better understanding of the universe, closer we get with ourselves.
“Man must rise above the Earth- to the top of the atmosphere and beyond- for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.”- Socrates.
Lisa has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Arts. She is an experienced blogger who enjoys researching interesting facts, ideas, products, and other compelling concepts. In addition to writing, she likes photography and Photoshop.