# 25 Crazy Facts About The Universe

10

#### The Big Dipper is not a constellation

While it’s not our intention to burst your bubble, we thought we should inform you that it is actually an asterism. There are only 88 official constellations in the night sky and everything else, including the Big Dipper, falls into this other category. It is, however, composed of the 7 brightest stars in the Great Bear (Ursa Major) constellation.
9

#### Constant motion

You are standing on a planet that is spinning about its axis while rotating around a star that is revolving around the center of galaxy that is itself bareling through space. Sounds like enough to give you motion sickness right? Well, before you take your dramamine lets visit our next point.
8

#### Galileo’s Theory of Spacial Relativity

So how do you know that the bus you are taking to work is in fact moving? What if you are sitting in the only motionless object in the known universe and everything else, inluding the road beneath your tires, is moving instead? Well, the truth is that there is no way to prove what is moving and what isn’t. It’s all relative to your frame of reference. To you the person across the aisle is stationary because your frame of reference is the bus. To the person watching from the sidewalk, however, you are both speeding along at 60 km/hour through traffic because their frame of reference is the earth. Let’s take this a step further though as we move on to…
7

#### The Speed of Light

Going back to the bus example. If you were to shoot an arrow out the window at a target down the road in front of you how fast would it be moving when it hit hit the bullseye? Well, essentially it would be going the speed of the bus – about 60 km per hour – plus however fast you shot the arrow. Now what if you shined a beam of light at it? Since the light travels at 186,000 miles per second, we would just add the 60 km per hour right? Wrong. Scientist found that no matter what, light travels the same speed. Which brings us to our next point…
6

#### The Universal Speed Limit

As a result of the aforementioned fact that light cannot exceed 186,000 miles per second, it would follow that nothing can, which is exactly why this has come to be known as the universal speed limit. This however, has some interesting consequences and leads directly into…
5

#### Einsteins Theory of Relativity

Without getting too complex, Einstein essentially came forward with the revolutionary idea that not only is motion relative, but time is too. In fact, they are linked together. The faster you move, the slower others will perceive that time has passed for you. Why? Well imagine this. As you are sitting in the bus you shine a beam of light at the opposite wall. Lets say in 1 second it covers 2 meters before hitting the other side of the bus. Now, lets think of this from the perspective of the person on the street. To them the bus is also moving so the beam of light actually covers 15 meters in that same second. Why is this weird? Think about it. Here we have an object that just traveled 12 meters farther in the same amount of time…but it was moving at the same speed. The only logical explanation is that to the person watching you from the road, it actually took the beam of light longer to reach the other side of the bus. This means that while you percieved the event to elapse in only 1 second, they percieved it in 2. To them your clock is ticking slower. While this was exactly the kind of nonsense scientists were trying to avoid, Einstein took it at face value and accepted the conlusion. Still don’t believe it? Thats why we’re moving on to…
4

#### Moving Clocks

Everything we just talked about is very relevant to modern technology. In fact, the clocks in onboard computers and navigation equipment have to take into account the effects of relativity. For example, if you measured the time that had elapsed on a fighter pilots wristwatch, you would find that it lagged behind your watch by several nanoseconds.
3

Remember high school physics? Because the force of gravity increases near the surface of the Earth, so does your acceleration which means exactly what you’re thinking – time slows down. Once again, this is very relevant to modern day society because at different altitudes clocks tick at different “speeds”. Also, remember that since the earth is rotating, someone standing near the equator is moving faster than someone on the north pole. Once again, their clock is ticking more slowly.
2

If you have been keeping up so far then this won’t be too much of a leap. The famous twins paradox postulates that if you put one twin on a spaceship that was moving near the speed of light through space and left another on Earth, due to the effects of relativity, the twin in the space ship would return to the planet significantly younger than his Earth bound sibling.
1

#### Black Holes

At one point these intergalactic vacuum cleaners were actually super massive stars. When one of those stars dies it generally blows of its gaseous outer layers and the core collapses into an extremely small and dense sphere. Imagine, for example, trying to pick up a tennis ball containing the entire mass of the Sun. The immediate effect of this astronomically high density would be an insanely strong gravitational field. In order to break free from any gravitational field you have to be traveling faster than something known as escape velocity. On Earth spacecraft achieve this by reaching a speed of about 7 miles per second. On some collapsed stars though, they would have to reach a speed faster than 186,000 miles per second which is more than the universal speed limit, meaning  nothing – not even light – could escape.

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David is the editor-in-chief of List25. He has a Masters degree in International Business from University of Florida. He loves to break dance, do flips, play guitar, and everything else that is fun. Follow him on Twitter @iamdpegg

1. Damien says:

cool interesting facts it gave

2. shubham gujrati says:

facts were awesome but theory of relativiny needs more explanation

• Max Fridman says:

By the way spell Relativity right dummy

4. jer Davis says:

Distance time &speed. Important when i was in navy. Fascinated by how technical it can be!

5. Hariat says:

Really shocking ones…………Awesome too!!!!!!!!!!

6. Suchismita Pai says:

Amazing>It si great to be reminded about all this once in a way so we keep a perspective of how insignificant we all really are. It is wonderful stuff!

7. peter stanford says:

I didn’t know galileo originated special relativity. I thought it was all einstein. and I bet a whole lot of people think the same. thanks for disabusing me of a totally incorrect assumption. nice pictures. and accurate information, though my opinion can’t really be trusted because I had the galileo thing wrong.
always like space science stuff.

• Syed Balkhi says:

Einstein did originate special relativity, or at least it is attributed to him. Galileo originated spacial relativity. One letter makes a big difference

8. Robert says:

Love it! Very nicely done!