Although the universe has literally fascinated us for millennia, we still understand just a tiny part of it. In fact, the mere conception of the space´s infinity is something that human mind can hardly ever grasp. Yet, there are things out there that scientists have managed to discover, understand (at least to a certain level) and describe. From a gas cloud 40 billion times larger than the Sun to a diamond planet worth 27 nonillion dollars, here are 25 bizarre things you can only find in outer space.
One of the greatest mysteries in modern astrophysics, the dark matter is a hypothetical kind of matter that cannot be seen with telescopes but is thought to account for most (about 85 percent) of the matter in the universe.
Giant water reservoir
Located some 10 billion light years away, the enormous water vapor cloud is estimated to hold up to 140 trillion times the mass of water found in all Earth´s oceans.
Relatively small and cold, red dwarfs are the most common stars in the Milky Way, accounting for up to three quarters of the stars in the galaxy. The nearest to the Sun (just about 4.3 light years) and probably the most famous red dwarf is Proxima Centauri.
Also known as interstellar planets, nomad planets or orphan planets, rogue planets are planetary-mass objects that have broken from their orbits and travel aimlessly through space. The closest rogue planet to Earth yet discovered is around 7 light years away.
Usually made up of protons, radioactive material, and intensely fast winds, the coronal cloud is a cloud of hot plasma gas surrounding a coronal mass ejection. After the ejection, the cloud can reach Earth and cause damage to electrical equipment and space satellites.
Hot ice planet
Officially known as Gliese 436 b, the hot ice planet is a Neptune-sized exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf Gliese 436. Although the temperature of the planet reaches 439 C (712 K), its watery surface doesn’t evaporate. Instead, the molecules form a kind of hot, high-pressured ice.
A pulsar is a dense highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. In the past, astronomers thought the radiation, which can be observed when it is pointing toward Earth, was an alien form of communication.
Almost everything in space is unimaginably big and the supergiant, as the name suggests, is no exception. Supergiants are among the most massive and most luminous stars, about ten times more massive and up to million times more luminous than the Sun.
A magnetar is a type of neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field. Hundreds of millions of times stronger than any man-made magnet, the magnetar´s magnetic field could strip information from the magnetic stripes of all credit cards on Earth from as far as halfway to the Moon.
While ordinary stars in the galaxy have velocities on the order of 100 km/s (62 m/s), the hypervelocity stars (especially those near the center of the galaxy, which is where most are thought to be produced), have velocities on the order of 1,000 km/s (620 m/s). Pummeling through space at these speeds, these stars exceed the escape velocity of the galaxy.
Discovered in 1852 and named after the Greek mythological figure Psyche, 16 Psyche is a one of the largest metal asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Unlike most of other metal asteroids, Psyche shows no sign of the presence of water and is believed to have a purely iron-nickel composition.
One of the most familiar astronomical term, supernova is a stellar explosion capable of briefly outshining an entire galaxy. During the explosion, the star radiates as much energy as the Sun or any ordinary star is expected to emit over its entire life span.
Named after a Japanese scientist, Himiko is a giant gas cloud and one of the largest objects ever found in space. With a length of about 55,000 light years, the cloud is roughly the equivalent mass of 40 billion Sun.
Categorized as the so called active galactic nuclei, quasars are basically extremely luminous discs of matter surrounding black holes. Considered the brightest known objects in space, quasars are capable of a luminosity 100 times greater than that of the entire Milky Way.
VY Canis Majoris
Located in the constellation Canis Major, some 3,900 light years from Earth, VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant and one of the largest and most luminous known stars. Discovered in 1801, the star is about 1,500 times larger than the Sun.
What sounds like something from an alien horror movie actually refers to a process in which a larger galaxy “eats” a smaller one and – by means of tidal gravitation – merges with it, creating a new, often irregular galaxy.
Located in the constellation Sagittarius, some 5,000 light years from Earth, the Trifid nebula is an unusual space object consisting of an open cluster of stars, an emission nebula (the lower portion), a reflection nebula (the upper portion) and a dark nebula (the gaps in the emission nebula).
A transient event observed in the solar wind, the magnetic cloud is a possible manifestation of a coronal mass ejection characterized by strong magnetic field, smooth rotation of the magnetic field vector and low proton temperature.
Pillars of creation
Resembling a picture from a sci-fi landscape, the pillars of creation are actually a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in the Eagle Nebula, some 7,000 light years from Earth. Composed of cool molecular hydrogen and dust, the pillars are basically seeds of new stars.
Quite the opposite of supernova, the unnova is the last phase of a star´s life, in which the star collapses on itself but without emitting large number of particles or energy. In some cases, only low-energy gamma radiation may be emitted.
Located some 6,500 light years from our planet, there is a gigantic cloud that contains a significant amount of ethanol. Spanning almost 300 billion miles in outer space, the cloud contains enough alcohol to fill 400 trillion pints of beer.
In space, gravity can do bizarre things including what astronomers call gravitational lens, a phenomenon, in which matter between a distant source and an observer bends the light from the source, as it travels towards the observer. Here’s a simulated gravitational lensing (black hole going past a background galaxy).
It’s a well-known fact that what we call “shooting stars” are actually meteorites falling through the atmosphere. However, what you may not know is that shooting stars actually exist. Mira for example is a red giant star that is shooting through the galaxy fast enough to create a tail similar to what we see in comets.
Formally known as “55 Cancri e”, the diamond planet has a mass of about 7.8 Earths and is thought to contain a large amount of carbon much of which may be in the form of diamonds. Forbes estimates that the planet may be worth about 27 nonillion dollars (that’s 27 followed by 30 zeros).
While most of the known stars are very hot (e.g. the surface of the Sun has a temperature of 10,000 F or 5,600 C), there has been a cold star discovered quite recently. Formally known as WISE 0855−0714, the freezing star is a brown dwarf featuring temperatures between −55 to 8 F (- 48 to −13 C).