Despite its fancy name, there is a very simple explanation for what 2i/Borisov is…it’s a comet (we talked about in this article). I know on the surface of things that doesn’t sound very impressive, “Why should we care about a comet?” But the real thing here isn’t that it’s a comet, it’s that 2i/Borisov is a comet that comes from outside our solar system and is now here. That makes it an Interstellar Comet, which is actually rather rare in our part of the galaxy. In fact, it’s only the second comet that has done that after the weird object known as Oumuamua.
On October 12th, 2019, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to get some photos of 2i/Borisov, and wit it came confirmation as to what it was, and how it was different from Oumuamua.
“Whereas ‘Oumuamua appeared to be a rock, Borisov is really active, more like a normal comet. It’s a puzzle why these two are so different,” said David Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), leader of the Hubble team who observed the comet.
Obviously, 2i/Borisov is special because it doesn’t come from our system, but there’s more to it than that that scientists find interesting. Mainly, this is an object that can help us understand what is going on out there in the universe, and to that end, what’s out there and how it relates to our own star system:
“Though another star system could be quite different from our own, the fact that the comet’s properties appear to be very similar to those of the solar system’s building blocks is very remarkable,” said Amaya Moro-Martin of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
So as you can see, it’s bizarre that something from so far away can match something so close to us. Thus, if this is in reach, maybe other like-minded objects are, only time will tell.
The Omega Centauri that lies in the constellation of Centaurus is known as “Globular Cluster” But what is that exactly? Well here’s the definition:
“A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core. Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes, and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers.”
Now that alone makes the Omega Centauri bizarre, but this one stands apart from the crowd in many ways. First and foremost, it’s the biggest of these clusters in the entire Milky Way galaxy, and that’s a pretty big area to be the biggest in. It’s estimated that this particular cluster has around 10 million stars in it. What’s more, the mass of the cluster is thought to be about 4 solar masses, which means it’s REALLY big and dense. Which begs the question, “If it’s so big and so dense, where exactly did it come from?” Because clearly it didn’t come from the normal way these clusters formed, right? And yeah, scientists would agree with you on that one.
There are many possible theories as to why Omega Centauri is much bigger than the other clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Some actually think it’s a former dwarf galaxy that somehow got disrupted. The other big theory that is still being debated right now is that the cluster has not a massive star at its center, but rather…a black hole. Oh yeah.
Black Holes are able to exert massive gravitational fields, which could explain why the 10 million stars are around the cluster, and because of how they are, they aren’t able to be detected unless you know what you’re looking for. This is under dispute, but if they’re right, it could be a big reveal for this branch of astronomical science.
Ok, let me ask you a question. What orbits our planet? The answer I hope you just gave is, “The Moon”. But let ask you a question…could our moon…ever get a moon of its own? No, this is not a trick question, or a question to make you think in levels of Inception, but rather, a basic principle of gravity, orbits, and more.
Because the reason we have moons as we know them in the first place is because certain rocks or fragments of planets evolved and reformed over time to be spherical objects, and then they got trapped in the massive gravity of a planet. And, as our own solar system has shown, there are many planets that have many moons orbiting them, like Jupiter and Saturn who have the most of the bunch. But, could any of the moons out in the universe have a moon orbiting them? The answer is yes, but it would be extremely difficult to achieve. Mainly because of distance:
“You would need to have a wide space between the moon and planet,” says one scientist on the matter.
Why is that? Well think about our own moon. It orbits the Earth in a set way at a set speed because of the way our Earth’s gravity pulls it around. So now I want you to imagine a small moon trying to orbit our moon…while still being in close proximity to Earth. Yeah, that would be a problem because the Earth would eventually grab it thanks to its superior gravity.
“Tidal forces from the parent planet will tend, over time, to destabilize the orbit of the moon’s moon, eventually pulling it out of orbit,” says Webster Cash, a professor at the University of Colorado’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy. “A moon’s moon will tend to be a short-lived phenomenon.”
Still, while it’s not proven fully as of yet, it is still a possibility, and there are many people honestly trying to prove this phenomenon.
Out there, somewhere in the universe, are planets that are both just like all the others in the universe, and yet are infinitely different. These are known as Rogue Planets. And they’re called that for a very simple reason. It’s because these planets, for whatever reason, were born to the universe…without being tied to a star.
Confused? I’ll explain. If you believe in the big bang version of the creation of the universe, then you believe that when the “explosion of matter” happened, it flung everything out into the universe at large, and is even still expanding to this day. Galaxies formed via gravitational forces via the stars and planets that were made. Yet, the force apparently “kicked out” many planets, and they’re now roaming the universe at large. There’s even speculation that a rogue planet is just outside our solar system.
The idea of other planets being just outside our realm is rather enticing, but it’s also scary. Because a new planet suddenly appearing could throw our solar system into chaos. And if it’s going fast enough as it hurdles through space, it could even crash into another planet. Maybe even Earth.
There are some scientists who believe that the Earth has already collided with a rogue planet. And it was this collision that created the moon that we see above us. Showing that even in great destruction, there can be wonderful creation.
Be sure to let me know your thoughts on Rogue Planets in the comments below.
The Anti-Matter Fountain
In the universe, as in life itself, there is a need for balance, you can find it just about anywhere if you know where to look. In regards to the delicate balance of life itself, there’s the “positive” side of life in regards to matter, and the “negative” side of life in regards to Anti-Matter. As shown off in many sci-fi films and TV shows, when Matter and Anti-Matter come together, the result is quite explosive, to the extent that it can create full-on destruction of whatever the two are touching at the same time.
The rub here is that while Anti-Matter is something we should fear on some level, there aren’t enough levels of it in the universe to wipe everything out, and the scientists who believe in the Big Bang honestly can’t figure out why that is. After all, the explosion should’ve created equal parts of both, right? But it didn’t, it created far more matter than Anti-Matter, and thus the universe is how it is.
However, in the center of the universe is a thing called the Anti-Matter Fountain. An entity that honestly spits out Anti-Matter at quite a rate. To the extent that no one really knows where it came from, or how exactly it exists. There are many theories of course, including that a Black Hole is responsible for it all, but that doesn’t track with what Anti-Matter is or how a Black Hole works.
Also, the question we should be asking is, is this the only one of these fountains out there?
When Hoag’s Object was first found, no one knew exactly what it was. Some thought it was some kind of an optical space illusion, others thought it was a kind of “lens refraction” cause by quasars and a galaxy reflection that has happened before. But in fact, it was something no one really expect, a galaxy that isn’t shaped like any other galaxy out there. You see, when you think of a galaxy, you picture a spiral formation of the planets and stars. But for Hoag’s Object, it wasn’t shaped like that at all.
For Hoag’s Object, it’s shaped like a perfect ring, and no one is really sure how exactly the object got that particular shape. One of the biggest theories is that somehow Hoag’s Object got into a collision or a conflict with another galaxy, and thus the shape turned out how it is right now. However, the problem with that theory is that if this happened, it had to have happened fairly recently. Given that Hoag’s Object has been studied for some time now, that seems unlikely, especially since no other galaxies in the area seem to have gone missing, or have had serious damage done to them at any point in time.
Other theories predict other kinds of collisions, or even a possible instability within the galaxy itself. Though at present these are all just theories.
When it comes to Supernovas, it doesn’t matter how they get created, all that matters in truth is that when they do get formed they explode with incredible energy that rivals just about anything in the galaxy, or in even the universe. But as noted, they are all really predictable in terms of their creation and death, with the exception of ones like Sn2006gy, which are ones that are a “third” type of Supernova. Ones that are believed to be so massive that they can rival anything in the universe in terms of size and power output. Even going so far that they are known as “hypernovas” because of how much they do.
But what has scientists curious is that they don’t know how these hypernovas are born as big as they are, and no one has ever seen one of them explode. Though we can tell through various finds that they do indeed happen and explode.
The biggest theory is that because of the size of these Hypernovas they create gamma radiation, and when that happens they make something we’ve already discussed here on this list: Matter/Anti-Matter collisions. When enough of those happen, even a star like this one can experience some pretty powerful surges and thus explode.
What’s also interesting to note is that these supernovas are the only ones to not leave anything behind when they blow up. Most supernovas leave things like neutron stars or the beginnings of new dwarf stars. But these ones don’t.
Finally, it’s believed that there is a star in the Milky Way that is very similar to Sn2006gy. Though it won’t hurt Earth when it explodes, the power and explosion it’ll create will likely be visible from our planet.
Rum And Raspberry Clouds
In space, there is a massive cloud, and scientists have deduced that the space cloud tastes like rum and smells like raspberries
Are you confused? Don’t overthink it, this isn’t a cloud made of rum and raspberries, rather, it’s comprised of elements that make up both. Primary among them is ethyl formate. This element is used in raspberries to bring them their smell, you also put in rum to help make it taste better. This cloud has billions upon billions of liters of this element, and thus if it could be extracted, it would mean lifetime supplies of this element.
What’s more, this “dust cloud” is actually near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, so in theory, it could be something we could get to eventually. There’s just one problem, Ethyl Formate isn’t the only element in this cloud. There’s also Cynaide. Specifically Propyl Cyanide, which is lethal to anyone who gets it in their system.
If you’re wondering how this is “weird”, ask yourself this. “How did this form?” What brought together these elements to make this cloud? And why is it so massive? No one knows, and it’s a big mystery in the universe, one that scientists continue to study to this day.
Actual Shooting Stars
When you think about “shooting stars”, you think about streaks of light dancing across the sky, and depending on your beliefs, you make a wish. However, those aren’t stars you’re seeing, they’re fragments of meteors. Which why is when a bunch of them fall it’s a “meteor shower”. But that’s not to say that there aren’t shooting stars out there, for there are real shooting stars in the universe, and they’re one of the weirdest and most confusing things out there. In fact, they move so fast that they’re called Hypervelocity Stars.
So, how are real shooting stars formed? It happens when a black hole consumes a galaxy, it actually sends something back out in the form of a Hypervelocity Star. And when it shoots it out, it does so at over a couple million miles per hour. Which is an insane rate of speed to think about.
Here’s the thing that’s really weird though, scientists aren’t fully clear about how these stars actually get out of a black hole. After all, nothing is supposed to escape a black hole once fully formed, not even light. Yet, these Hypervelocity Stars are created from within them after devouring galaxies, and “ejecting” a star. How? And why do black holes even create them? Scientists are still looking for answers.