cool facts about the unvierse

5 insane facts about the universe you wish you knew

the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.

– carl sagan

Ever been to a mountain top and witnessed the night sky filled with countless stars? isn’t it such a magnificent visual treat?

Indeed it is.

but, glazing through the stars up in the sky, did you know that you were looking back into the past? that you were looking back into 65million years?

yes. the light that you see now was emitted by the star 65 million years ago. And just like that, if someone from that star were looking onto our earth, they’d be seeing dinosaurs right now.

whoa! this is so frigging awesome, isn’t it?

but that’s not it. the universe is more mysterious and absolutely insane than we could ever imagine. the facts about universe are beyond absurd such that logic and reason don’t even stand a chance here.

we have collected 5 such cool yet insane facts that prove how strange and amazing the universe actually is. And this ain’t like some cliched high school facts. purely based on intensive research and backed by clear reasoning.

so if you’re ready to get fascinated by the 5 insane ways of cosmos, then let’s dive right in, deeeeppp!!!

1 – multiple realities of a black hole

you all must have a basic idea regarding black holes. yeah, it attracts and engulfs anything, literally anything that passes through its surface. this is applicable to light too. pretty cool right?

but did you know that a black hole has multiple realities? yes, it does.

black holes

for example, just imagine that you and your friend visit a black hole. you’re so excited to enter the black hole. so you jump into it. your friend watches over you from outside. the weirdness of the black hole is such that the reality now splits into two. for your friend, you never really entered the black hole. you remain frozen at the event horizon where the excessive heat begins to engulf you.

but for you, the reality takes the opposite turn. for you, you’re still alive, enjoying the mystic beauty of the universe inside the black hole. but you are never violating laws of physics here. your friend sees one version or copy of you and you too see only one copy of you. you and your friend can never compare notes.

2 – the absurd truth about emptiness

Atoms. they are the building block of all elements that exist on this universe. from the smartphones at which you’re looking at right now to the Mount Everest, is made of atoms in its innermost core. everything in the universe is nothing but these atoms combined together.

The atoms further, consists of a nucleus in its centre which is made up of protons and neutrons. it is surrounded by electrons in a concentric way. but did you know that the size of the nucleus is negligible compared to the size of the atom? yes, 99.999% of the atom is empty space.

atomic structure

heck, almost all the stuff in our universe is non-stuff. ain’t that ridiculous?

for example, consider the nucleus of an atom by the size of your iPhone’s home screen button, of diameter 1cm. then the diameter of the atom would be 1km!! which means if you walk 500m in any direction and you would still find nothing but empty space.

leave numbers, let’s take the examples with the biggies we see on a daily basis.

let’s consider the empire state building itself. it has a height of 443m, 102 stories and a whooping 365,000 tons of stuff.

empire state building

but if you remove all the empty space from every single atom within this skyscraper, this is what it would come down to.

needle pics

Yes, the entire Empire State Building without its empty space would be merely the size of a needle, but still weighing the exact same 350,000 tons!

You know when someone tells you “I feel empty”. Well, they’re actually literally right. In fact, we all are, in some sense. We’re all mostly empty. Yes, sometimes figuratively, but always literally.

Imagine we take out all the empty space in all of the atoms inside every cell in our bodies, the entire population of the Earth would then fit inside an apple!

apple


yes, the entire population of the planet would fit into this tiny apple.

yes. our universe is so vast, beyond our imaginations. but it may also turn out to be too small and beat all expectations. no man has ever comprehended the vastness of the universe with his sane mind. you gotta be insane to understand something that’s insane.

3 – the desert of the big void

almost 700 million light-years from our planet, lies the biggest void in the whole universe, known as the big void or bootes void. it was once believed to be totally empty with no galaxies, no planets, no stars, not even dust. filled with absolute emptiness. it is the largest void that was ever discovered with a staggering size of 330million light-years and hence the name, big void.

the bootes void or the big void

it wasn’t until 1990 that scientists discovered the first galaxy in the big void. as of now, there is an estimated total of 60 galaxies in the big void.

well, 60 galaxies ain’t that small but still, it is baffling that such a huge void that account for around 0.27% of the whole universe has only 60 galaxies in it. our universe would have been much older than our estimated calculations for the formation and existence of such a huge dark void.

Taking the uniform distribution of matter in consideration, an area of this vastness should house somewhere around 10,000 galaxies instead of just 60.

To put these numbers in some kind of perspective, consider this.

Here’s our beautiful galaxy – our home, The Milky Way.

The Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light-years across. In plain English, it only takes light 1.3 seconds from Earth to reach the moon. But to cross through our galaxy, end to end, it’ll keep going at a whopping speed of 299,792 kilometres per second for 100,000 years!

Now, get ready to be petrified. Take, not a hundred, or a thousand, but 3,300 Milky Ways and stack them next to each other. Can you picture this in your head? Now realize this: ALL 3,300 Milky Ways would fit in the diameter of the great void!

Keep in mind that we’re talking about the diameter here. we’re only considering two dimensions in a sphere.

the big void is without a doubt, the creepiest, bizarre place in the cosmos.

this is a science-based post. forgive me for getting a bit philosophical here. but I simply couldn’t resist it.

Imagine the loneliness of those 60 galaxies. Each floating millions of light-years away from its closest neighbour in this ocean of nothingness. Imagine the sheer extent of the emptiness surrounding each one of those island universes, engulfing their perception of reality.

And what if an alien civilization actually lives there now, on one of the billions of planets in the void? What if they were trying to reach beyond their home galaxy, explore the universe, only to be confronted with a seemingly infinite blackness?

Based on years of research, astronomers have concluded that if the Milky Way had been in the centre of the Boötes void, we wouldn’t have known that other galaxies even existed until the 1960s.

In 1924, Edwin Hubble published his findings after years of peeking through the telescope into the dark sky. His work showed us that our galaxy was but one among many many others. We were not alone after all. Our views of the universe were completely, irreversibly, and forever changed.

Now, suppose there was another Edwin Hubble on some planet in a galaxy centring the big void. He’s looking up at the sky searching for stars beyond the boundaries of that galaxy, and finding none. Nothing but complete and endless darkness is seen out there. He and the entire alien civilization on that planet would be deluded into thinking that not only is their galaxy the centre of the universe, but the universe itself.

These poor aliens would attach more pride to themselves than we do. But how mistaken they would be!

How mistaken might we be? We’ve always craved importance and continuously refused to believe that we were not the centre of the universe. But thanks to technology and scientific thinking, we are constantly proven wrong. But what if our current technology, marvellous as we find it, is to be found guilty providing us incomplete or false signals about the universe and our place in it?

This must be one of the most humbling thoughts one can entertain. And It makes you wonder whether we actually know anything for real.

4 – the universe is insane

 Right after the Big Bang, the universe doubled in size many times over in less than a nonillionth of a second.

the big bang

Everything in the universe, as hard to imagine as this must be, was once inside a single point. All the matter and energy of 200 billion galaxies, 93 billion light-years across. All were inside an infinitely hot, infinitely dense point.

Beyond that point, there was nothing. But unlike the conventional nothing we use in our daily language, this meant no empty space, no time. Literally NO-THING, with every sense of the word.

Then for reasons yet to be known, this singularity point, as referred to by physicists, exploded. And the universe burst into existence with what we now call The Big Bang. It’s the most important event in the evolution of our universe. But what came after The Big Bang is even more difficult to comprehend.

Right after the burst, inflation took off. And the universe doubled in size 90 times during the first 10^(-34) seconds of its life. That is a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second!

This is a ridiculously tiny fraction of time. It is impossibly difficult to imagine the speed by which the universe expanded following the Big Bang. But how about the scale of that expansion? It was just 90 folds after all – that’s a fairly small number, isn’t it?

the average thicknesses of a paper are 0.1 millimetres. So, by folding it just once, it’ll appear 0.2 millimetres in thickness. Not that big of a difference, is it? But wait until you see the magic of exponential growth.

If you fold that paper only seven times, it’ll be as thick as a notebook with 128 pages. That’s simple math, (2 > 4 > 8 > 16 > 32 > 64 > 128).

Now, put the paper on the ground and fold it a total of 23 times. You’ll have to look way up now as it gets 1 km high – that’s higher than Burj Khalifa.

 burj khalifa

With the 42nd fold, you will reach the moon!

51 folds and the paper is burning now as it touches the sun!

81 folds in total will get this piece of paper so thick, it can barely fit inside the Andromeda Galaxy!

And finally, 91 folds. Where would that lead us? Take a deep breath and see for yourself.

 virgo supercluster

This is the Virgo Supercluster. It’s 110 million light-years across. And it contains more than 100 galaxy groups and clusters. One of those groups is called the Local Galactic Group, which in turn includes the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, plus fifty or so other galaxies.

Our sheet of paper is actually thicker now. It’s 130.8 million light-years wide.

Imagine going from less than a millimetre in thickness to 130.8 million light-years in just a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second!

This is ABSOLUTELY FRIGGING INSANE! The universe is insane. I swear if not for my trust in science and math, I would’ve never believed this. Right after the Big Bang, the universe doubled in size many times over in less than a nonillionth of a second.

Everything in the universe, as hard to imagine as this must be, was once inside a single point. All the matter and energy of 200 billion galaxies, 93 billion light-years across. All were inside an infinitely hot, infinitely dense point.

5 – the mystery behind the dark energy

 Dark energy – the mystery we don’t understand yet. And dark matter, which is equally puzzling.

It was the year 1929. As the global economy started to collapse, and the world was falling into the great depression, Edwin Hubble chose a different direction. He kept on looking up at the sky to interrogate the darkness. What he observed that year while peeking into what’s beyond the Milky Way came as a complete surprise to him, and to the entire scientific community.

Dr Hubble noticed that the farther a galaxy is from Earth, the faster it seemed to be moving away. Concluding that the universe was expanding at an accelerated speed. This was against everything astronomers had thought about the evolution of the cosmos.

Once again, Edwin Hubble revolutionized our understanding of the universe. This time paving the way for the Big Bang Theory. Which is mainly built upon the notion of an accelerated rate of expansion.

Prior to Hubble’s observations, gravity had been thought to be slowing down the pace of the universe’s expansion. But it turned out there was an even stronger force pushing galaxies away from each other. A repulsive force that later came to be known as Dark Energy. And it makes up 68% of the entire universe!

dark energy

Another strange observation that astronomers have made while studying galaxy formation is the way they spin. According to Newton’s universal law of gravity, stars at the edge of a galaxy have to move more slowly than the ones closer to the centre. But what scientists have found showed none of that. Far-away stars moved at the same speed as the ones close to the centre.

This challenged the fundamental laws of physics – namely Newtonian gravity, and Einstein’s theory of relativity.

The only logical explanation for such movement is that galaxies have more mass than we can actually see, much much more. Extra invisible mass that binds a galaxy together. And this is what came to be known as Dark Matter.

Dark matter doesn’t emit or reflect light. And this is where it draws the name from. We can’t actually see it. But still, its attraction force affects entire galaxies. The only method by which we were able to prove the existence of this mysterious matter was through gravitational lensing.

Now here’s the disturbing part. Combined, dark energy and dark matter account for more than 95% of the energy-mass content of the universe! And everything else – all the stars that shine, the planets going around them, moons, comets, and basically everything we can actually see, make up less than 5% of what is really there in the universe.

If 95% of the cosmos is a complete mystery to us. And of that remaining 5%, around 99.99999% is empty space, then where the hell is everything? More than that, what is everything?

Is this a joke? Is our universe just a facade, after all? Or is it simply a universe on budget – with most of it merely empty space, and the rest is hidden from us?

NO ONE KNOWS!

6 – the cosmic calendar

The whole history of the universe in just 1 year. (Also known as a cosmic calendar)

January 1: 13.8 billion years ago: Big Bang.

The Big Bang and the creation of the Universe occurred here, as determined using cosmic background radiation from the explosion. This is as far back as the Calendar can go. It is pointless to try to go any further.

January 22: 12.85 billion years ago: First Galaxies

After a billion years of pure energy moving across the cosmos, the first galaxies in the universe were formed. Gases began to come together and coalesce to form stars, which in turn began to cluster as a result of their own gravity.

March 16: 11 billion years ago: Milky Way

The Milky Way, our neighbourhood, was finally born after a million-year process of stars coming together to live in tandem after the first galaxies were formed.

August 28: 4.57 billion years: the solar system.

The Solar System as we know it now.

Our Solar System was formed when the Sun came into existence. Looking at this, it is surprising to observe that the Sun, born in September, is still incredibly young when compared to the age of the Milky Way.

September 6: 4.54 billion years ago: Earth.

The oldest rocks on Earth have been dated to be about 4.4 billion years old, which approximates Earth’s formation in the cosmic calendar just 4 days after the formation of the Solar System.

September 7: 4.53 billion years ago: the moon.

Just one day after us, our loyal satellite was formed and has been orbiting the Earth ever since.

September 14: 4.1 billion years ago: Life on Earth

Remains of biotic life on Earth was found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks. Most prominently, single-celled primitive bacteria signified the birth of life on the primordial Earth.

September 30: 3.8 billion years ago: Photosynthesis

This might be the most essential breakthrough for life since it signified the direct use of the Sun’s light to produce oxygen necessary for carbon-based life forms. All the earlier forms of life utilized only the Earth’s resources, but without photosynthesis, the atmosphere of Earth couldn’t be filled with oxygen.

December 5: 0.8 billion years ago: Multi-cellular life

From single to multi-celled organisms

The evolutionary jump from primitive bacteria to multi-cellular organisms took a very long time but is responsible for life on Earth as we know it. This interval of almost 3 months is even longer than the time it took the first galaxies to form.

December 20: 0.45 billion years ago: Land Plants

The Earth began its journey in becoming lush and green when life took its first step onto land. The world was then being populated by amphibians and reptiles.

December 25: 0.23 billion years ago: Dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs ruled the earth 201 million years ago.

It has only been 5 days on the cosmic calendar since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

December 30: 0.065 billion years ago: Dinosaur Extinction

The Cretaceous extinction event when a meteorite hit Earth and decimated almost every form of life. The non-avian dinosaurs died out, paving the way for mammals to conquer the world.

What happened on December 31?

December 31, 12 a.m.: 40 million years ago: Dawn of the primates

Whatever we have heard about the history of mankind on Earth happened on December 31st of the cosmic calendar. This truly shows us the insignificance of our time spent here on Earth. The dinosaurs had roamed the Earth for 5 days, and we were still living in trees on the dawn of that final day. Humanity is quite literally a blip on this calendar, as everything that follows happened on the final day of the year. For more specificity, the time has been shown instead of the date.

14:24 hrs – Primitive Humans were born.

22:24 hrs – Stone tools were used by humans and fire was domesticated.

23:59 hrs and 48 seconds – The Pyramids were built by the Egyptians.

23:59 hrs and 54 seconds – Buddha was born and the Roman Empire was formed.

23:59 hrs and 55 seconds – Christ was born, which marked the beginning of the Roman calendar (0 AD).

23:59 hrs and 58 seconds – Christopher Columbus discovered America

23:59 hrs and 59 seconds – The world as we know it, with seekthecosmos as a blog in it. 🙂

no matter how advanced we are, no matter how rich we get, everything has an end.

the universe is vanishing. It may be five million years from now as some cosmologists project, or it could take as long as a hundred billion years.

All in all, the last tick on the cosmic clock is coming. And only then, will it finally be declared, once and for all – the time of death for the universe as a whole.

but even if we’ll perish with the universe one day, do we really die? i don’t think so. maybe that’s not death. maybe none of us will ever die. we are all made of starstuff. the cosmos is within us. we are made for the universe to know itself. even if our physical body dies one day, we all will find our place within this vast multitude.

after all, that’s where we are from, aren’t we?

yes, me, you and everyone here, we all hail from stardust. we are bound to end up there and, we will!


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