Outer space. It contains endless mysteries and possibilities. While we have much to explore, here are a few of the strange things found in outer space so far…
A World of Diamond
With double the diameter and more than eight times the mass of Earth, 55 Cancri e is a glimmering giant. Scientists believe the planet to be comprised primarily of carbon. If they’re right, the planet’s blistering interior temperatures (over 3000 degrees Fahrenheit!) and punishing pressure would churn that carbon into diamond. With a world of dazzling riches, who needs water?
A Raspberry Delight
Sagittarius B2 is a massive molecular cloud in the Milky Way. Aside from having a mass three million times that of the Sun, the cloud contains ethyl formate, a fragrant gas found in raspberries and rum. Delicious!
Ice on Fire
While it has nothing to do with George R. R. Martin, Gliese 436 b is interesting in its own right, and definitely worthy of a place in our list of strange things found in outer space. The exoplanet is about the size of Neptune and sustains a sizzling 440 degrees Celsius. It’s so ridiculously hot that its water doesn’t turn to steam; the H2O molecules form clumps to become ice – and not the kind you want to press against a swollen ankle.
Our Potential Future
Next door to the icy hot Gliese 436 b is the also icy hot Gliese 581 c. Astronomers believe this planet may be our next home. Gliese 581 c doesn’t rotate like other planets, so one side is burning hot while the other sits frozen in darkness. Somewhere in the middle is a tiny strip of habitable land. Would you live there?
Electric Black Holes
Every few billion light years or so, you’ll run into horrifying electric currents crackling out of a black hole. Astronomers have even discovered one larger than our entire galaxy.
In June 2012, NASA spacecraft snapped a shot of three craters aligned to look like the head of Mickey Mouse. In reality, the image is actually flipped.
Invisible to telescopes, dark matter (and dark energy) make up most of the matter in the universe. The stuff we see only accounts for about 5 percent. Due to its strange nature, astrophysicists can make guesses about dark matter by observing its effects on visible matter.
While none have actually been found, evidence points to the existence of white holes. The opposite of a black hole, a white hole theoretically allows matter and light to pass through it and may hold the key to time travel.
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