Since the dawn of humankind, people have looked to the skies wondering what lies beyond.
The sheer vastness and mystery of it spawned myths about gods and monsters across the world. But what about the world that lies beyond? As humankind discovered the means to travel to the stars, space exploration became the next joined goal of humanity. Though we have made several huge advances in unlocking the mysteries of space, everything we know is just a mere fraction in the grand scheme of things. Something as vast and unending as the universe, there is no way to understand everything. Perhaps in a few million years we might figure it out but for now, we have to take it one galaxy at a time. Here are some of the strangest mysteries surrounding outer space.
1) The Eagle Nebula
In 1745, Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux discovered an open cluster of stars called today as the Eagle Nebula. It was named so because the dark silhouette at the center resembled the shape of the majestic bird. This area of the nebula was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope and named as the “Pillars of Creation” as the pillar shaped formation was found to be composed of hydrogen and dust which act as incubators for stars to be born. The mystery wasn’t about the nature of this star cluster but about the photograph itself. On one side of the gaseous clouds, there was a shape that very strangely resembled a man’s face. Apart from the overall silhouette of a face, there were two protostars where the eyes were and even a nose and a mouth with no lips. What was stranger was that when you adjust the color of the photo, the shape of the face becomes even more defined.
2) The Origin of Galaxies
We all know what galaxies are but how did they come into being? They aren’t just scattered randomly across space. Each one is a cluster of stars and planets known as super clusters. Over the years, scientists from all over the world attempted to figure out the origin of stars and planets and today we know how but the galaxies still remain a mystery. One popular theory is that the left over gas after the big bang led to the creation of galaxies across the universe. Another one states that planets and stars were created by the gas from the big bang and they were pulled to various clusters because of gravity. However, these two theories are not universally accepted and seem to be still full of holes. The true origin of galaxies might remain a mystery for quite some time.
3) Is There Another Planet With Life On It?
While almost everyone with common sense would agree that the possibility of some planet existing with life on it is possible, none has been found yet. The sun which supports all life on our planet is merely one of trillion stars in the universe. If our solar system has 8 planets and a hot star, we can come to the conclusion that there are more planets in our universe than stars like the sun. With all the recent advances in space exploration, we have found several planets that might support life. Gliese 581dd is one such planet that seems to have liquid water. Perhaps when technology allows us to travel to far away galaxies, we might finally figure out whether we are truly alone in the universe or not.
4) Is There Only One Universe?
While almost every scientist believes that there might be other planets in our universe with life on it, the concept of multiple universes is an extremely divisive subject. There is a theory that there are an infinite number of universes, with each being unique from one another. This concept has the scientists from all over the world split right in the middle. One half believes that such a possibility definitely exists while the other half dismisses the theory as consequences of an active imagination. This is yet again another concept that may be found to be true or not once technology has reached a certain level. But the theory of infinite universes sure is an exciting one.
5) The Presence of Dark Matter
Albert Einstein, one of the world’s most known geniuses came up with the equation of E=MC^2 which helped humankind tremendously in the years that followed. However, when we use it to figure out how much matter exists in the universe, we end up with an anomaly. According to the equation, we have discovered only 4 percent of matter so far. The other 96 percent is unknown and many scientists speculate that it must be dark matter. Though there is no proof that points to the existence of dark matter, the dual nature of everything points to the fact that if matter exists, so should dark matter. There was a point in time when people didn’t believe in the concept of air and the fact that gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide is essential for life as there was no way to see it. Perhaps in a few decades, dark matter will be a common matter of knowledge.
6) The Theory of White Holes
We are all familiar with the concept of black holes. One of Albert Einstein’s greatest achievements was his proof on the existence of black holes which changed the way we looked at space. Thanks to technology we have the resources to discover black holes. We have even found one recently right at the center of our galaxy. What is interesting though is that the same equations that Einstein used to prove the existence of black holes also point to the concept of white holes. While the former sucks in all matter, the latter spits out matter. What is interesting about this is that this might be the missing clue we are looking for when asking about how galaxies came into being. Perhaps the big bang itself was a white hole. Time it seems will help us to discover more.