Terrifying Places in the universe

Space: the final scare-tier

Video of the day September 5th 2019

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From planets to cosmic entities, join us as we explore some of the most terrifying places in the universe!

8. Space Itself

While this may seem like an odd way to talk about the universe at large, it’s a very real fact. Despite there being planets and entities that could totally kill us (or worse…) upon contacting us, the very notion of space itself is rather terrifying.

Think about it like this, space is so dangerous that humanity (at the present time) has to outfit themselves with protective gear to ensure that all the things that are in space that we can’t see or detect at times doesn’t hurt us. 

For example, the average temperature of space is close to absolute zero! Which is the coldest point on the temperature scale. That’s the AVERAGE temperature, which is why we need spacesuits to ensure we stay warm.

Then, there’s the radiation aspects of space. Stars from all across the galaxy emit radiation of various kinds. Some aren’t harmful, obviously, but many are. On Earth, our atmosphere makes sure that only the non-harmful radiation gets into the planet to keep us warm. In space? No such filter unless we build it ourselves.

And let’s not forget that there are places in spaces that are full of dangerous objects like asteroids and meteors that could destroy the Earth if it were to come into contact with us. That’s how the dinosaurs were wiped out, and it’s definitely a possibility that it could happen again.

Finally, space is technically infinite. I mean that in the sense that the universe is growing by our best estimations. And with each new place that arrives via this expansion, the more that’s “out there” for us to explore. Not that we’ll ever likely fully explore the universe, but it is a dream. Yet within that dream is a nightmare, because who knows what’s all out there in the depths of space?

Sure, we know certain things within a certain confined area of our galaxy, but that’s a small drip in a massive pot that is the universe we live in.

Are there aliens out there? Maybe! We don’t know because we haven’t explored all the universe yet. Could there be a new deadly thing in space we haven’t discovered quite yet that might harm the harm? More than likely.

So while space does absolutely fill us with awe and wonder…it should also fill you with dread over what’s out there, and whether any of that will eventually come here.

7. Black Holes 

There are many forces in space that go beyond the basics of physics and even life, and one of those things are Black Holes. These are literal devourers of worlds and stars (sorry Galactus) and can cause untold damage to the universe if situated close enough to certain things.

If you’re looking for a more technical definition, this is how NASA describes Black Holes:

“A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.”

This singularity as it is often called is a bit of a mystery in space, and for a very good reason. You see, black holes can form in large sizes, small sizes, and sometimes they don’t even need a fully fledged star to form at all! 

Plus, since no light can actually escape them, it means that they can’t technically be seen by anyone. That being said, it’s easy to “see their work”, as the intense gravity of the Black Holes is enough to stretch objects from their “starting point” and slowly pull them to the Black Hole. This is known as spaghettification, because like a stretched piece of spaghetti, the object will get thinner and thinner until nothings exists but particles. That’s a terrible fate for just about anything, and we’re no joking when we say this can deconstruct and devour planets and stars.

black hole

But there’s a catch to that, as you won’t be able to observe the spaghettification yourself. Why? Remember, no light escapes the void that is the Black Hole, so because of that, you’ll see the last known position of the object that light allows you to see. It’ll seem like they’re stuck in place and slowly going away until they’re gone. When in fact, they or it will be slowly pulled apart. 

The other big mystery about Black Holes is that it’s unclear what’s at the center of them. Or what happens when you go through them. Theoretically, nothing should exist because of the intense pressure of the core, but that can’t be proven. Despite these setbacks, NASA is continuing to study Black Holes to further understand them, their creation, their functions, and more.

If we’re measuring the fear factor of certain objects in space, then you can put Black Holes as one of the top things around. If you’re in the gravity of the Black Hole, you’re screwed, even if you can’t perceive it yet. And make no mistake, Black Holes are some of the most powerful things in the universe right now, which is why scientists are so fascinated by them.

But don’t worry about Earth being the next victim of a Black Hole, there aren’t any in range just yet. Then again, that doesn’t mean that one couldn’t just appear and try and take us out…just saying.

6. The Colliding Galaxies

As noted previously, space is pretty big, and that means that there are many things out there that are quite beyond our understanding. Or, that we wish will NEVER happen to us. Such as in the case of the galaxy known as ESO 593-IG 008, which found itself with the dubious honor of colliding…with two other galaxies! That’s right, there’s a place in space where three massive galaxies are colliding, and it’s a sight to behold…and be afraid of.

“Examples of mergers of three galaxies of roughly similar sizes are rare,” says Petri Väisänen, lead author of the paper reporting the results. “Only the near-infrared VLT observations made it possible to identify the triple merger nature of the system in this case.”

There are many things to note about this, not the least of which is the scale of this collision is mind-boggling. Remember, a galaxy is a large expanse of space, so for events to happen to cause this? That’s literally astronomical. And we should be thankful that this isn’t likely to happen to us for a very significant amount of time.

5. The Planet That Rains Glass

HD 189733b is one of the strangest planets in existence today, and that’s saying something given the scope of the known universe. This particular planet features a feat that no one on Earth would ever dream about outside of sci-fi movies. For you see, this is a planet that rains glass…sideways.

To be clear, this is a real planet, and it really does rain glass down from the sky and then have it go sideways. I’ll explain how. The glass itself comes from the atmosphere, which has a high concentrate of silica, a component very common on Earth.

Because of the buildup of silica, as the “rains” come down on the planet, it hardens (not unlike condensation from water to ice at times on Earth), and thus become glass. So in the very literal sense, glass can truly “rain down” from the skies above on this planet. Now, if you’re still wondering about the direction of the glass… 

The winds on HD 189733b are far beyond anything Earth or many other planets that in the universe could do. They’re so powerful that they can be up to 5400 miles per hour. The force of this wind at such high speeds makes it so that the glass rain cannot fall down straight, and instead, falls sideways.

I really shouldn’t have to describe the dangers of a planet like this…but I will anyway. Raining glass was already a bad thing, as that could slice up anyone and virtually anything on the planet if it was thick enough.

But with it raining sideways? That’s another threat entirely that would be very hard to deal with. We should all be grateful that we don’t live on a planet like this.

4. Images Among The Stars

I already noted that space was already terrifying, but from where we are right now we get a view into space that allows us a certain kind of perspective. Of course, said perspective isn’t always a good thing, because it reveals to us that at its core, space can be very, VERY haunting.

Take a look at some of these images taken by various sources across the wonders of space. You’ll notice something very interesting, and terrifying. Mainly, all of these images are of stars, cosmic rays and more being formed into shapes that are very easy to explain.

Such as a Pulsar-Wind Nebula that is shaped in such a way that it looks like a hand, and is literally called the “Hand of God”.

Or how about the Perseus Cluster? It may look safe and fine when you look at it with ‘regular eyes”, but if you look at a image of it via an X-Ray, you’ll see what appears to be a screaming skull. Not something you’d want to surprise you on a computer screen.

There’s also SH2-136, a places of interstellar gas and dust that is shaped in such a way that it looks like ghosts are fighting!

So you see, space has the ability to shape things to make your mind go slightly crazy. It’s weird like that.

skull asteroid in space

3. The Dark World

It’s a known fact that without the sun, our planet wouldn’t be able to survive for a whole host of reasons. So you could argue that any planet out there without a sun would be a terrifying place to try and live. But what if there’s another twist on this tale? This is the tale of TrES-2b.

TrES-2b is a planet in space that is so dark, and is so non-reflective that it is documented as the “darkest planet ever observed.” David Kipping from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said the following about the planet:

“Being less reflective than coal or even the blackest acrylic paint—this makes it by far the darkest planet ever discovered. If we could see it up close it would look like a near-black ball of gas, with a slight glowing red tinge to it — a true exotic amongst exoplanets.”

As I’ve hoped you noticed, this isn’t a planet without a sun, but rather, it’s a planet that has atmosphere and composition that it actually pulls light into it completely, thus making it look dark.

Now, despite us knowing that it is indeed a “Dark World”, we’re not exactly sure as to why it is that way, or how it stays that way. Which is a problem because scientists want to know but we’re so far away from the planet that we can’t really learn too much. 

Progress has been made though in formulating a theory. And with enough time, we could see if the Dark World is something to learn from, or if there are others like it.

If we were to try and live on that world, we’d have a really hard time. Obviously, seeing would be a big issue, but also, trying to grow anything without concentrated light and heat is a very hard task.

2. Planet That Rains Rocks

CoRoT-7b is a planet with a unique rotation around its star. Mainly, it’s what we refer to as “tidally locked”, meaning it always faces it star in one way, yet doesn’t on the other. So half the planet gets heated, and the other is freezing. Already it’s not a good place to live. And a byproduct of this is that when it comes time to rain? It rains down rocks…of magma.

The side facing the sun has large pools of lava, but because it’s so hot (reaching 2600 degrees Celsius at times), the lava actually evaporates and goes into the atmosphere, and then it’ll either stay on the hotter side of the planet, or, go to the other side, which is much cooler than the regular side. When it “rains” on the hot side, it becomes magma. Yet, when it goes to the cooler), it hardens into rocks, and can become so big that they damage the surface on the ground.

This is quite a unique phenomenon, and most definitely is not one that can happen on Earth, and we honestly should be grateful for that. Because if we were to get hit by this, we’d be in some serious pain, which is why this is planet is terrifying. Who would want rocks raining down from above?

1. Earth

Surprised? You honestly shouldn’t be. Earth may be a place of great beauty and wonder, but it’s also a place that is terrifying all on its own.

earth

Let’s start with the obvious, weather disasters. When it comes to Earth, we have floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, wildfires, freak lightning storms, and more that can harm us (and scare us) in a variety of ways. And many of these disasters are unpredictable, so you never know when it may come, and how much damage it will cause.

Then, there’s the wildlife on the planet, while many are small and docile, there are plenty of carnivorous creatures that would love to eat you.

Still not enough? How about diseases? There are many out there in the world that can be fatal, and just as many can’t be cured very easily. It’s almost dumb luck that half the population isn’t infected with something or other.

Finally…there’s the people. While Earth may be the only planet out there right now (that we know of…) that has intelligent life, we don’t act like it at times. Violence, wars, and more tear the planet apart, and cause all sorts of terrifying incidents that rock people to their cores.

Sure, Earth can be a great place, but it’s still very scary when it’s at its worst.

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