Gape In Awe At These Outer Space Oddities – Space Is Truly Weird.

cosmic cartwheel galaxy
| Opinion > Geek World

Space is romantic, gothic, omnipresent and… odd. It’s really very strange indeed. From dark matter to space cartwheels and impossible planets, space has offered us more beauty and puzzlement than a bag full of fairy wings.

Space Tornados

I happen to be an especially big fan of this one as I have quite a soft spot for earth’s tornados. Picture a tornado on earth: Large, ominous, spiralling to who knows where. Now imagine that in space… with enough bright colours to make a cybergoth go haywire.

space tornado

A space tornado is a rainbow-coloured interstellar jet of dust and gas particles moving through space. For the nerdkins who want infinitesimal scientific details about this cosmic beauty, the space tornado works something like this:

High-energy particles are spewed out of a young star (not to worry, it’s warm and safe in its stellar nursery). They plow through interstellar clouds which create our lovely spiral structure – which looks like a tornado. These particles (usually protons or electrons) are so energised and move so fast (100 miles per second to be exact) that when they collide with clouds of dust and gas the collision creates heat, a whole aura of heat around the clouds – which can be detected.

But why is it multi-coloured? For the reason that the base of the space tornado has more excited particles than the head of the space tornado which is closest to the young star, and which is where the particles are coming from.

Cosmic Cartwheel Galaxies

The universe apparently wouldn’t fail gym class (as yours truly did) as it shows its gymnastic ability in cartwheeling. Before you ask; yes, this phenomenon also happens to be multi-coloured.

Cosmic cartwheeling happens when two spiralling galaxies make a head-on collision.

How giant is that?

TWO GALAXIES. CRUSHING TOGETHER.

cosmic cartwheel

The circular orange spiral is the results an intruder galaxy that happened to be passing by. Unlike a casual collision with a stranger while you’re carrying your groceries, this one is catastrophic. Not only are the two galaxies involved severely damaged, destroyed, ruptured and annihilated, they also send ripples of energy like when one throws a stone into a lake. That’s what the blue circle is Except it’s all happening at speeds of 200,000 mph.

Sedna

Despite this, probably the oddest thing of all is that out of such devastation, creation still finds its way in. Such a collision creates a firestorm of new star creation.

sedna

This weird object is affectionately called Sedna which means ‘Goddess of the Sea’ in Inuit mythology. Now Sedna can be called the most distant known object in the solar system. You will not see photos of Sedna. It’s simply too far away from the sun.

When it was discovered, the folks in the long white lab coats were damn near sure that Sedna had some unseen satellite. Alas, recently the Hubble Telescope disproved this. The folks in their coats were absolutely flabbergasted.

‘Why,’ you ask, ‘is such a thing so strange?’ It’s odd because any object orbiting the sun without a satellite can spin on its axis in a matter of hours, yet it takes wimpy old Sedna twenty earth days to spin on its axis. No companion, no satellite, and still slower than highway traffic.

Dark Matter

As a fan of all things dark – be it dark corridors, dark cathedrals or dark chocolate – dark matter and dark energy have got to be my favourites.

dark matter

About 23% of the universe is dark matter, and a whopping 73% is dark energy. Conclusion? God was probably a bit of a goth. Why else would we have dark energy, dark matter, and when it comes down to it, dark gothic cathedrals?

The atoms that make up you, me, your pet salamander and your favourite faux-fur coat only make up a measly 4% of the universe. If you don’t already know, regular matter is called baryonic matter, so go tell your pet salamander next time you feed them.

The question of what these dark entities really are remains open. We still just don’t know what dark matter and energy is. It’s odd. That’s why it’s in this article. We know it’s there, though it cannot be seen. Sound ominous? It’s not dark for nothing. Dark energy and matter is probably the reason why our universe is expanding; the expansion of which still baffles scientists today.

Also known as neutron stars, these dead zones are a dense compression of a once-large bright star after it dies during a supernova. These gigantic stars do not die with a whimper; if they have enough mass and the conditions are right, their very core implodes, resulting in the walking corpse that is a neutron star.

If you’re thinking this is sounding more and more like the ‘Night of the Living Dead’, wait till you hear what a neutron star does. It sucks the life out of its companion. With its immense gravity, a neutron star sucks out dust and gas from a normal star. Space is SO goth.

Images: NASA

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