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Question What is your favorite weird fact about space?

shaines

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Aug 22, 2019
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Science fiction writers may deserve a lot of credit for the cool concepts they create in their own universes, but the reality is often even more bizarre.

An example of a thing that makes a lot of logical sense, yet my brain never even considered, is cold welding in space. If multiple objects made up of the same material come into contact in space, they will eventually fuse into a single piece. This happens for raw materials because in the vacuum of space, the materials have nothing blocking the molecules from simply "assuming" they are one block of material.

It really seems like there are some very cool applications for this quirky little fact.

Let us know some of your favorite bizarre truths about the universe in which we live.
 
Oct 1, 2019
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I guess what has always intrigued me is that we know there are organic bits out there. Building blocks for life as we know it.
We also know Tardigrades (the coolest animal known to science, fight me), are able to survive out there.

The coolest thing of all... how much we do NOT know about space. The mystery is ever alluring, even as science has reached its pinnacle among our species.
~LC
 

jpishgar

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Aug 22, 2019
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In that as much as I enjoy the idea of nothing going "boom" at the beginning of time, the more recent models posit emergence from what is referred to as "quantum foam". Quantum foam was covered by the editorial team way back in 2015 here: https://www.space.com/29629-quantum-foam-bubbly-universe-search.html

The long and the short of it is that the universe may have emerged from (and exist upon) an ocean of really suggestive maybes.
 
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Mar 22, 2020
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The accretion process whereby a huge dust/gas cloud is perturbed, coalesces (first via Van Der Waals forces, then gravity), accretes into larger and larger masses and ultimately becomes a sun and entire solar system.
 
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May I have ten for the price of one?
Whilst indexing my All About Space copies going back several years (for relevant material) I came across the "10 weirdest stars in the galaxy" January 2016 pp 30 ff..
A good collection there. Well worth digging out.

Plenty more to choose from - seeing photos of Io or Europa, or Titan, Ganymede, Calisto, Halley's Comet, Bennu, Arrokoth, Pluto - some seen only as white specks through my 2" telescope when I was 12 - others not dreamt of. The Man in the Moon with a footprint on his face …

Surely anyone interested in Astronomy or Planetary Science would find the detail now available in close-up photos, the enormous body of new information - weird in the most extremely pleasant way. Totally unbelievably weird for the child or adolescent who I was in the 1940s and 50s.

I hope that you will find immense joy in the beautifully weird facts and images still to come in the next decades. Science fiction becoming science fact.

Cat :)
 
Apr 1, 2020
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Tabbys star, Boyagian's star or officially known as KIC 8462852. One explanation for the weird dimming, flutuations in its brightness, was attributed to alien megastructures - Dyson Spheres or swarms of solar panels to capture the stars energy output. Although this explanation was discarded as very unlikely a valid answer is yet to come.

I came across this star phenomenon in scifi books by author Ian Douglas' Star Carrier series. I think Ian is remarkable at mixing science fiction and fact and make it sound very plausible. I have found his novels very educational as well as exceptionally "realistic".

As alluded to earlier by many members this is another examplary contribution by sci-fi authors to future possibilities.
 
Dec 23, 2019
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That "empty"space can range from near absolute zero to several million degrees Kelven. And that is not from direct radiation. but just the implicit energy of the gas in the "emptyness" .
 
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Apr 5, 2020
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The most strange thing about this Universe in my own opinion is it's beginning. The Big Bang.
It's incredible to just imagine a very small bubble bursting into a Universe with dark matter, stars, blackholes, planets, moons, asteroids, dark energy and everything else. Another spectacular thing is the clash between Matter and Antimatter during the beginning of the Universe, the greatest war ever fought which matter won and that is why we are here and I can type in here
 
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Hi again.

I don't think anyone can claim to understand the Big Bang.
My view is that it is incorrect to assume that you can just extrapolate expansion backwards to a single point.
I believe that Nature would prefer a gentle curve, and that there would be something egg timer - shaped (on its side) so an 'anti-Universe' opens out from the other side. Anything beyond that is pure speculation.

Cat
 
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Apr 6, 2020
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Quasars are the interstellar birth of galaxies. Pretty weird, considering quasars are a type of black hole.
 
Apr 6, 2020
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To quote Astronomy.com, "Specifically, a quasar is a supermassive black hole that is actively feeding on material. The infalling matter has swirled into a disk that has heated up, and it shines so brightly that its light drowns out the rest of the galaxy around the black hole."
And also, from google: "Most large galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have a supermassive black hole at their center. ... Once the material runs out the active galaxy becomes a regular galaxy. The quasars which have been observed are billions of light-years away. This means that they are young galaxies as seen in the early universe."
 
Moni999

First let me just say that asking for references was not an aggressive act :)
It just tells me where to start on a big subject. Here I need your help as I cannot find the answer to your post which I find very interesting.
The following is an extract from an interesting article "Quasars explained" in 'Astronomy Now'
Feb 2002.

"One possible answer, now out of vogue, is that black holes may have simply started out big, as primordial relics of a chaotic early era. Perhaps they were the lumps of mass that seeded and accelerated the formation of galaxies.
This notion was popular for several tears when it seemed Hubble images showed some quasars with little or no surrounding galaxies. First came the quasar, then came the galaxy – or so it appeared. Further observations, however, found that all nearby quasars have substantial surrounding galaxies and as Magorrian found, the mass of the central object corresponds closely with the surrounding spheroid of stars. Thus it looks as if black holes have grown along with their galaxies’ development."

The cogent point to me is "First came the quasar, then came the galaxy – or so it appeared"
Do you have anything more recent to supersede this please?

Cat

An addition:
Quasars are the energetic centres of young galaxies.
Astronomy October 2019

Everything I find suggests that quasars are part of galaxies and stellar development generally.
Nothing so far to suggest quasars give birth to galaxies.
Clarification welcome please.
 
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Dec 26, 2019
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Out of all the space itself is a most weird fact. The size and extent of stars, Galaxies, Galaxy Clusters, Super Galaxies, Black holes everything is so fascinating.
 
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Apr 8, 2020
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The night sky acts as timescape as well as a starscape, since the light seen is from different regions of space relative in time to the distance from the observer.
 
Starman

I agree that it is amazing to shift your gaze around the heavens and, in doing so, move your focus by hundreds of millions or even of billions of years. A slight change of direction and you can move in time from the dinosaurs to a 'place' where the Earth had not yet come into existence.
 
Unless we get into FLT we are unlikely to be receiving any visits from extraterrestrials any time soon.

Be careful folks - we seem to be drifting off topic, unless of course the idea of extraterrestrials is your fav weirdest idea?
 
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