If you’ve ever looked around and thought to yourself, “I’m surrounded by weirdos” (as most of us have), then you should know something – as weird as the people around you are, space is significantly weirder. These are 25 puzzling mysteries from outer space that will leave you baffled.
A Face In The Clouds
This photo shows the Eagle Nebula, which supposedly shows the birth of a star from gaseous clouds. This in its own right is pretty amazing. But when you look closer, you can actually see the face of a person…no joke. Take a look.
According to scientists this is the force that is allegedly pulling the universe apart. As of yet it has not been directly detected but estimates say that nearly 3/4 of the known universe consists of dark energy.
Most of the remaining fourth of the universe consists of dark matter. Dark matter has mass but it is invisible. We only know of its existence due to the force it exerts on other objects in the universe.
Does it matter?
Yes, it most certainly does. Seriously though, if you did the math from the previous two numbers you may have realized that there isn’t much room left in the universe for anything except dark energy and dark matter. In fact, you would be right. The things you can see (stars, planets, etc) account for less than 5% of the known universe.
To confound matters even further (you see what we did there?), nearly half of this remaining “visible” matter is missing. It has been called baryonic matter and there is a lot of debate as to where it could be.
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How stars explode
We know that eventually stars run out of fuel, and when they do their lives end in giant explosions called supernovas. We just don’t know the details.
According to scientists, about 13 billion years ago the universe underwent something called re-ionization. During this period the early universe’s fog of hydrogen gas cleared up for the first time. The question scientists want to know though is why?
Energetic cosmic rays
Every now and then a highly energetic particle, with energies hundreds of millions of times greater than any manmade particle produced in a laboratory, will come flying into our solar system. We have yet to figure out where they come from.
Our Solar System
The differences and uniqueness of the planets in our own backyard are an enduring mystery with no easy explanation. Scientists hope that the hunt for alien planets will shed some light on our own solar system.
The Sun's Corona
The corona is a layer of the sun’s upper atmosphere that is super hot (over 6 million degrees celsius or nearly 11 million degrees fahrenheit). The only question is how does the sun keep this outer layer so heated?
Where did galaxies come from?
Although science has recently come up with explanations for the origin of stars and planets, galaxies are another ballpark.
Other Earth-Like Planets
Since the year 2000 numerous planets have been discovered orbiting other stars. The question is where or not any of them can support life.
Although this typically falls outside the realm of science, there have been theories concerning the possible existence of multiple universes, each with their own physical laws.
Life on Mars?
Although many conspiracy theorists would say that there is life on Mars and NASA is covering it up, many scientists believe that Mars did harbor life at one point before its magnetic field disappeared.
Astronauts seeing things
There have been numerous cases of astronauts claiming to have seen UFOs or other strange phenomena hinting at an extra-terrestrial presence. Conspiracy theorists would say that the government is hiding things.
Another favorite of conspiracy theorists, the idea is that NASA smudged some images of the moon to cover up the fact that there are structures there.
For the past 400 years a storm has been raging on Jupiter that is 3 times the size of Earth. Scientists have a hard time explaining why it has lasted so long.
The iciness of Saturn's rings
We know they are made of ice and that’s about it. Questions concerning the why and how of their origin are still unknown.
This is the name scientists gave to giant planets that orbit exceedingly close to their stars. In fact, most of the first planets that scientists discovered outside our solar system were hot jupiters. The strange thing is that many of these planets consists of substances usually found in the outer reaches of the solar system.
Sometimes stars come in pairs. One of the stars may turn into a red giant and swallow its companion. The companion will then suck the gas off of the red giant leaving it as a white dwarf. How or why this happens is still a mystery.
Solar pole temperature mismatch
Why is the sun’s south pole cooler than the north pole? Nobody knows.
All the other planets have an “upward” facing axis of rotation, Uranus is basically lying on its side with an axial tilt of 98 degrees. There are many theories as to why this is the case but scientists have nothing conclusive.
The shape of the universe
If you think of the universe as a big ball full of galaxies you are almost certainly wrong. Scientists are unsure of the answer to this but they know one thing, it is not straightforward.
The center of the universe
As we just established, the universe is not a big sphere full of stuff. In fact, modern cosmology states that the universe doesn’t even have a center.
Gamma Ray Bursts
They are the brightest explosions in the universe, almost incomprehensibly bright, and they have been spotted at random times and in random parts of deep space for the last 40 years. In spite of their hard-to-ignore presence there is no plausible explanation for their existence.