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5 Facts You Might Not Know About the Universe

I am a space nerd. I have not one, but two NASA apps downloaded on my phone. I find myself procrastinating by reading article after article about obscure parallel universe theories or whether there’s a giant black hole sucking all matter in the universe into it. There are simply so many fascinating things to learn about the universe, so I thought I would share some of my favorite space facts with the HCK audience!

  1. There is a black hole 250 million light-years from Earth that emits a sound that scientists have identified as a B-flat 57 octaves below middle C, the lowest sound ever detected in the universe. The gravitational force of the black hole makes ripples in the gas surrounding it, therefore creating sound waves. Each individual ripple is measured to be about 30 thousand light-years long.
  2. The object farthest from the Sun (within our solar system) is Sedna, an asteroid whose orbit stretches as far as 937AU from the Sun. That means that when Sedna is at its farthest point from the Sun, it’s over 900 times farther away than the Earth is from the Sun. In this picture, Sedna’s orbit is shown in red, while Pluto’s orbit is in purple.
  3. R136a1, a star located 165,000 light-years away, is the most luminous object in the universe. It is 256 times larger than the Sun, and its luminosity is 8.7 million times that of the Sun.
  4. What happens when astronauts need to go to the bathroom? Watch this video to learn about human waste in space:

     

  5. The whole universe is infinitely big, ever-expanding, and it has an edge. As far as we know, there is no far away point at which the universe simply ceases to exist; so, scientists have concluded that it is infinitely big. At the same time, the universe is also expanding. It’s not expanding into anything, though, because there is nothing outside of the universe in which to expand. Instead, space itself is expanding. Based on these two facts, it’s obvious that the universe does not have a physical edge. It does, however, have a temporal edge. (Click here to learn more!)

​So, there you have it. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the universe is weird, but also extremely interesting, even if we may never completely understand it.

Class of 2017 at Kenyon College. English major, Music and Math double minor. Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Accidentally singing in public, Eating avocados, Adventure, and Star Wars.
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