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12 Interesting Facts About Cosmos

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Introduction

The cosmos, or outer space, has captivated humanity’s imagination for millennia. As our understanding of astronomy and physics has grown, we have uncovered amazing and intriguing facts about the universe we inhabit. From the mind-boggling scale of the cosmos to the mysterious objects and forces that shape it, the facts of our universe are often stranger and more fascinating than science fiction.

In this article, we will explore 12 interesting facts about our cosmos that illuminate the wonder, complexity, and mystery of outer space. Ranging from the basic composition of the universe to recently discovered cosmic phenomena, these facts showcase some of the most notable features of the space that surrounds us.

Interesting Facts About The Cosmos

1. 95% of the cosmos is invisible to us

The normal matter that makes up stars, planets, gas, dust, and living beings accounts for only 5% of the universe. The other 95% is made up of dark matter and dark energy – substances we cannot directly observe but can infer from their gravitational effects on normal matter. Dark matter may be composed of undiscovered subatomic particles, while dark energy drives the accelerating expansion of the universe.

2. There are more stars in space than grains of sand on Earth

Current estimates suggest there are over 100 billion trillion stars in the observable universe. The number of individual grains of sand on Earth pales in comparison, estimated to be around 7.5 x 1018 – or 7 quintillion, 500 quadrillion. And we’ve only begun to probe the unimaginable depths of space beyond our view.

3. The hottest planet is hotter than molten lava

The hottest planet in our solar system is Venus, with average surface temperatures reaching 462°C (863°F) – hot enough to melt lead. This heat comes from a runaway greenhouse effect, where Venus’ thick atmosphere traps incoming solar radiation. In comparison, lava flows on Earth generally reach about 700°C to 1,200°C (1,300°F to 2,200°F).

4. If you cry in space, your tears stick to your face

On Earth, gravity pulls our tears down our cheeks. But in the microgravity environment of space aboard spacecraft, tears form bubbles of salty water on the eyes and face that astronauts must wipe away. The lack of gravity keeps the tears clinging to the skin rather than falling.

5. Neutron stars can spin 600 times per second

When a massive star dies in a supernova, its core can collapse into an extremely dense neutron star. As the star’s remnants rapidly shrink, conservation of angular momentum spins these neutron stars much faster – up to about 60 revolutions per second at birth. In extreme cases, they can spin up to 600 times per second due to interactions with surrounding matter.

6. The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will collide one day

The Andromeda Galaxy, our largest galactic neighbor, is on a collision course with our home, the Milky Way Galaxy. In about 4 billion years, the two great spiral galaxies will meet in a spectacular merger to form a giant elliptical galaxy. While stars are far apart and won’t smash into each other, the cosmic collision will trigger the birth of new stars and reshape the galaxies.

7. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a 300-year-old storm

The iconic Great Red Spot on Jupiter is a giant storm, churning for at least the last 300 years since humans first observed it through telescopes. Winds inside the storm reach speeds of 270 mph, powered by heat from within Jupiter. The crimson cloud towers 8 miles above surrounding clouds and is big enough to swallow Earth whole.

8. A spoonful of a neutron star weighs over 100 million tons

These ultra-dense stellar remnants pack an extreme amount of mass into a tiny volume. Neutron stars result from supernova explosions and compress an amount of matter roughly equal to that in our Sun into the size of a city. Just a teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh over 100 million tons – about the same as the entire human population combined!

9. The Moon is very slowly moving away from Earth

As the Earth rotates, the oceans bulge out towards the Moon. Their gravitational pull creates a drag that transfers the Earth’s rotational momentum to the orbit of the Moon, moving it farther away. This process adds about 4 centimeters to the distance between the Earth and Moon each year. In the distant past, the Moon was much closer to our planet.

10. Interstellar space is not completely empty

While very sparse, interstellar space does contain some matter in the form of gas and dust particles. These can include hydrogen and helium atoms, molecules, and charged particles ejected from stars. The density of interstellar matter is estimated to be just a few atoms per cubic centimeter on average – a far better vacuum than any created on Earth.

11. There may be a giant undiscovered planet in our solar system

Some astronomers hypothesize a large, distant world called Planet Nine orbits far beyond Neptune’s orbit. Though unseen, its existence could explain the unusual orbits of certain small, icy worlds beyond Neptune. If confirmed, the planet could be 5-10 times the mass of Earth and take 10,000-20,000 years to orbit the Sun.

12. Intergalactic space is 1 million times emptier than our best laboratory vacuums

While interstellar space contains trace amounts of matter, the space between galaxies is the truest vacuum known in our universe. Models indicate there are only a few hydrogen atoms per cubic meter in intergalactic space – a million times less dense than vacuums created in labs on Earth. At these extremes, empty space is not so empty after all.

Conclusion

Our cosmos harbors many astonishing secrets that challenge our imaginations with their scale and complexity. From searing hot planets to city-sized stellar remnants weighing 100 million tons, the facts of outer space reveal a universe far more surprising than early stargazers could have dreamed.

As our exploration of space continues, even more extraordinary discoveries surely await to give us new insights into the fundamental nature of the cosmos. Each answer uncovered by astronomy seems to provoke even deeper questions, inviting us to understand realities stranger and grander than we can yet fathom. Just what other astounding facts remain hidden among the billions of stars in our skies and beyond? The cosmos beckons for us to continually explore its mysteries.


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