Space is huge, and terrifying. Not just because we’ve barely scratched the surface of what lies beyond our blue green rock, but also because most of what we’ve discovered is beautiful beyond comprehension, and would kill us instantly and painfully. As if that’s not enough, new horrific yet insanely cool things are being discovered and not understood daily. Here are 25 Of The Creepiest Things In The Known Universe to keep you up at night.
Black holes are created when stars die.
It’s not enough that they die, they collapse in on themselves so much that they basically make a bathtub drain in the universe that sucks in and drains to who knows where everything that dares come near them. Neat.
Meteors killed the Dinosaurs, and there's more where that came from!
Specifically one called 3753 Cruithne, which orbits the sun at almost the exact same distance as Earth. It’s over three miles wide, but thankfully is going to stay several million miles from our little green blue dot. As far as we know.
Random rogue planets.
There are whole religions devoted to thinking unseen planets are going to crash into us (tiny cult weirdo religions, but they still count). Well, apparently they’re not entirely unfounded because the possibility of a Planet X is something that NASA is seriously looking into (and not ruling out).
All gold on Earth came from outer space via meteors a long long time ago.
So if you’re wearing a gold ring right now, it’s…not from here.
She's not STILL in space, but for awhile, there was a terrified dog dying of stress and heat in space, in 1957.
Her name was Laika, and she was the first living creature to orbit the Earth aboard Sputnik 2, which launched in November in 1957. Laika’s body and Sputnik 2 burned up upon re entry into Earth’s atmosphere the following year, but a poor stray dog dying of stress alone in space ranks pretty high on the creepy (and sad) scale. Poor girl.
The Himiko Cloud is the largest object in the known universe, and it's basically a giant mystery blob of unknown origin that's half the size of our galaxy.
It’s a gas cloud 12 billion light-years away, and scientists assume it’s leftovers from galaxy formation, long ago and far away.
Just all of it, really. It’s equal parts fascinating and terrifying. It’s possible that Mars is where life (in microbe form) actually began, and then it found it’s way here (via asteroid). We already know there’s been water on Mars in the past – flowing water – what dark secrets does the red planet hold?
Some stars sing to themselves.
Unfortunately the pitch is nearly a trillion hertz, so it’s not really something we can hear and enjoy, but..just know…Stars are making sounds, millions of light years away.
Diamond Icebergs that float upon an ocean of carbon.
That’s not weird existential slam poetry, that’s what scientists’ best guess about what the surface of Neptune and Uranus looks like. They theorize that there may even be diamond rain.
Black holes move.
They aren’t stationary, (they move quite fast) and sometimes they collide with other objects that they don’t eat and change direction. It’s like the most massive game of Doomsday Pinball ever.
Sometimes the moons of various planets are just as interesting as the planets they orbit.
Interesting and terrifying. Take for example Titan, a moon of Saturn. Gravity is so low that if we ever visited we could strap on wings and fly like birds. Until the gasoline rain killed us.
To clarify, we live in a Solar System, our sun (star) is called Sol, and our planets and their moons are grouped around our star.
That’s one Solar System. In our Galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy, there are at least 500 Solar Systems, some with more planets than ours. The El Gordo Galaxy cluster is over 8 billion light years away, contains three million billion (yeah, don’t try to understand how big that is, just understand you can’t really understand) times the mass of the sun, and is the largest grouping of galaxies we know of. Grouping of galaxies. Our Scientists named it the Spanish word for Fat.
A giant cloud of Hydrogen Gas (Smith's Cloud) weighing as much as one million stars is headed towards our galaxy.
Even now, if we could see radio waves it would be significantly larger than the full moon in the sky at night. Thankfully it will be millions of years before it gets here, but when it does, it may cause a reaction that forms new stars. The circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife!
Zombie stars come back to life by stealing material from neighboring stars.
Yeah. They’re called Ia Supernovas and are a kind of White Dwarf star that’s basically dead until it sucks up enough matter to become a supernova and spew it’s guts across the universe.
There's a giant hurricane like storm on Jupiter so big you could fit three Earths into it.
We’ve watched it for centuries, same storm, changing colors.
Even with all the stars and galaxies and New York City Street lights that our solar system contains, there are still pockets of extreme blackness.
There’s just vast amounts of darkness. Not like power outage when the moon is behind the cloud, but complete utter darkness in the vacuum of space. No idea what or who could be lurking up in there, or if the darkness itself is sentient, but we’ll probably have nightmares about whatever it is if we ruminate on it much longer.
There's a blue planet that rains molten glass because it's so close to it's sun that the temperature is nearly 2,000 degrees, because apparently every beautiful thing in space would kill you instantly.
The romantic name Scientists have given this azure planet of beauty and sure death? HD 189733b.
Dark Matter makes up about 80% of the mass in the universe, and we can't see it.
Scientists can’t observe it. We don’t know what it is, we just know that it’s there, it’s kind of holding things together. Dark Matter makes up about 80% of the universe, and Dark Energy (we’ll get to that) is a separate thing, and TOGETHER they make up about 91% of..well..literally everything. And we can’t see them, they’re completely undetectable to us. We’re not saying there are multi dimensional beings or overlapping universes completely unobservant to us, we just aren’t…saying that there AREN’T, either…
In August of 1977 Ohio State University's Big Ear radio telescope received a signal from Deep Space, which became known as the "WOW!" signal, because that's what was written on the printout.
It lasted 71 seconds and attempts to locate where it came from came up with…nothing. In 2012, on the 35th anniversary of the signal, a message containing 10,000 tweets was beamed in the same general direction the signal came from. The scary part here isn’t the signal, it’s that we replied with ten thousand random tweets. So that’s just out there in the universe now…
The lowest note in the universe is a sound coming from a Black Hole.
It’s a B-flat that is 57 octaves below middle C on the piano. Black Holes aren’t scary enough, now they’re singing, in the vacuum of space.
Aliens may have started talking to us in 2016.
And by “talking” we mean flashing lights, specifically “Star Pulses”. These 234 abnormal pulses (observed in October of 2016) may be signals from alien civilizations right in our own galaxy (neighbors!) or just more weird space stuff that we don’t even understand how much we don’t understand it. But we know it’s something.
While scientists are looking at starting a colony on Mars (and this makes sense, as it's the next logical step in space colonization), the closest planet that would be inhabitable and similar to Earth is actually 20 light years away, and it's called Gliese 581g.
This planet also orbits a red dwarf star, which is smaller than Sol (our star, the best star), meaning that it’s much closer so stepping out into the sunshine would probably melt your face off and retreating to the side of the planet away from the sun would freeze you to death. And this is arguably our best future option for a home away from home. It’s tidal locked, if you’re wondering.
When we see "shooting stars", what we're actually seeing is a meteor burning up in Earth's atmosphere.
And good thing too, because Stars are giant balls of super hot gas that could easily obliterate a planet if they careened around the universe willy nilly. Except some do. They’re called “hypervelocity stars” and six of them were discovered in our very own galaxy in 2013. Apparently when a black hole eats the stars in a binary system, it only eats one and spits the other out. Neat. In a “well that would be a neat way for our entire planet to be destroyed” kind of way.
Dark Flow is not Dark Matter, it's somewhat more (sinister and) inexplicable.
It’s a force (they think) that’s outside of our known universe causing it to do weird things. That’s literally the most layman’s breakdown. Is it another dimension? Is it God? Is it the walls of the airport locker that our Universe is contained in? Dark Flow is what’s outside our known universe. Scientists don’t know what it is, but they know it’s there. If this seems vague and terrifying, there’s also Dark Fluid which attempts to explain and combine Dark Matter/Flow, and Dark Energy which is NOT a Star Wars reference but the general term for inexplicable energy which is causing the universe to expand at an ever accelerating rate. Need a drink yet?
Author side note: after reading about Dark Flow, Dark Matter, Dark Fluid which attempts to explain and combine Dark Matter and Dark Flow, and Dark Energy which is a completely different thing, and Eternal Inflation Theory, I need a drink or twelve, and scientists need marketing interns because they should not be allowed to name their own stuff anymore, EVER. I understand that we ran out of the Roman Pantheon awhile ago, but could they start going through my little ponies, Pokemon or mountain dew flavors, please. The Sangarita Blast Nebula or Rainbow Dash Energy sound really cool and less terrifying. If NASA found a fluffy kitten cotton candy planet, they’d name it DarkDoomPlanet-9356H.
We’re pretty terrifying. We hurt each other for shiny things or merely the joy of causing pain with alarming regularity. If you were a hyper intelligent advanced species from the outer reaches of space, would you visit us? Or would you jokingly hum the dueling banjos theme from Deliverance when you passed our Galaxy?