The Sun, our majestic and life-sustaining star, has been a constant presence in our skies since time immemorial. Its radiant energy provides warmth, light, and the conditions necessary for life to thrive on Earth. But have you ever wondered what would happen if our Sun suddenly vanished and was replaced by another star?Arcturus. A huge red star. It’s just bursting from inside out! The red sea of plasma on its surface rages and pulsates. This star burns anything that comes close to it. And now... flop! Arcturus is gone! But at the same moment, it reappears at the center of our solar system, replacing the Sun. What we see in the sky isn’t a small yellow dot anymore, but a giant red ball. It’s 25 times wider and 30% heavier than the Sun.
So time travel is real. Actually, you’re traveling through time right now. With every second of this article, you move one second into the future. Hehe. But there’s one person on Earth who has managed to time travel a little further into the future, 0.02 of a second. And that’s not the limit. Meet Sergei Krikalev. He’s an astronaut who spent 803 days, 9 hours and 39 minutes on the International Space Station. That’s the key to his time travel.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System. More than 1,300 Earths could fit inside this gas giant. It’s also two and a half times more massive than all the other planets of the Solar System — combined! But if you think this is mind-boggling, I’ve got some great news for you! Very recently, a team of astronomers has discovered a much, much bigger planet with the help of the Subaru Telescope and the NASA Hubble Space Telescope.It’s a Jupiter-like protoplanet orbiting a very young star called AB Aurigae. The star is probably still forming and is no more than 5 million years old. For comparison, our Sun is 4.6 billion years old. The young star is located around 531 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Auriga.
So you fall right into the heart of the black hole and prepare for a sad end. Well, you don’t have to! Falling into a black hole won’t necessarily destroy you or your spaceship. You have to choose a bigger black hole to survive.
Astronomers have recently found a strange object far away from Earth. It disappears every two minutes and sends out waves of radio noise three times in one hour. It was first seen by a student named Tyrone O’Doherty while he was looking at the sky in his home country, Australia.This space object appears to be different from anything else we’ve seen before in space. Because of their “calculated” movements, scientists call these types of objects “transients.” Turns out, they are not that rare to find. When scientists study transients, most of the time, they look near a big star or near the things it leaves behind after it goes out.
Our Sun. Something strange just happened now. Every TV channel, the news, they’re all talking about a black hole that came closer to us — on the spot where our Sun used to be! You can even see an accretion disk, and the background of the sky looks kinda distorted, which means it got really close.Normally, black holes are so far away that we can’t see them with the unaided eye. You can’t even see them with a telescope directly! What is it doing here, so close? Where is the Sun? Did the black hole swallow it?
Okay so you’ve seen the movies and read the books on time travel. Most of them tell stories about entering some futuristic boxes — and in the blink of an eye, you’re in some different epoch. For now, this is just sci-fi. But there are ways to make time travel possible — at least theoretically. We just don’t have the technology figured out yet.For starters, time travel to the future could be achieved by traveling at high speeds. But not just “getting a ticket on the super highway” kind of speed. This is based on Einstein’s theory of special relativity. It explains that time slows down for objects that move at really high speeds. And the good news is scientists have already tested this theory, and it looks promising. They did it with the help of two identical clocks. One was placed on a jet, and one stayed on the ground.
“I’m calling the higher powers from another reality to show me your fate! Now look into this magic ball, and you’ll see it! Booooo!” an old lady wearing a strange costume says. “I’m sorry, but how does your precognition work? Is there any scientific approach? I just want to understand the algorithm,” you reply.“The algorithm is very simple, my boy... You give me 10 bucks. I’m telling you about your destiny,” the old fortune-teller answers. “But what about the scientific method?” “It’s magic! There’s no scientific method!” Actually, there is! Psychology professor Daryl Bem managed to prove that prediction is real. In 2011, he published a scientific article on this topic, but other scientists ridiculed him. They called the scientist’s work a disgrace and couldn’t believe that a reputable scientific journal had published it. But were those people right? Let’s try to find the truth!
“A comfortable abode with a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean Sea will serve as a perfect rain shelter” — this is what a real estate advertisement might have looked like for Neanderthals 100,000 years ago. Welcome to weird and wonderful caves you could live in — or not. Of course, back then, neither real estate and advertising had been invented yet, never mind the fact that Neanderthals couldn’t build houses and often lived in caves. Yet, one of those caves looks an awful lot like a residential building. It’s situated inside a high limestone cape called the Rock of Gibraltar. If the Neanderthals had had an economy, the caves inside this rock would have cost a bundle.
You might have run into a black hole and not even know it. Not a real one, like those that are in outer space, but an internet black hole. It can happen when the website you are trying to access doesn’t load or your email seems to get lost forever in cyberspace, never reaching its destination.
Floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes... Yikes! All these natural disasters can get extremely dangerous — but we’re kind of familiar with them. But how about a natural disaster that has never happened before — but could occur any moment now? It might be a super eruption. That’s what happens when a super-volcano erupts. You might know that Yellowstone Park is located on top of a super-volcano. The last massive eruption there happened about 664,000 years ago. And the one before that — approximately 1.3 million years ago. If we do the math, we’ll understand that the next eruption might be due any time soon. There’s no strong evidence that the super-volcano is waking up or preparing for an eruption. But what would it be like if it did happen?
Did you know that there’s an astronomical object in which space and time actually swap places? How does it work? And what exactly does “swapping space and time” mean? Well, let’s figure it out. Imagine that you’re on a spacecraft. The vehicle can only move straight. Your path leads to some inevitable point, and you have no idea what lies ahead. You can only hope that it won’t be too bad. Meanwhile, everything around you is complete madness. A chaotic collage of many historical events. What do you see? Ancient humans and dinosaurs? The birth of the universe? A... future? Who knows. That’s what the universe would look like if we swapped time and space. And, theoretically, this is what you’d see if you fell into a black hole and somehow were able to survive. But how is something like this even possible?
In 2022, scientists made an interesting discovery. They found that a bunch of material was spewing out of the black hole’s surroundings... TWO YEARS after the black hole tore the star to pieces! This is the first time in history that we’ve seen something like this, so let’s find out what happened. October 2018. This whole story took place in a galaxy located 665 million light-years away from us. One star passed too close to the black hole and got eaten. This may sound scary, but for astronomers, it’s just “meh”. They see these horrifying incidents happen all the time. When the star gets eaten, it’s called the “tidal destruction event”, or TDE.
Have you ever wondered why Earth doesn’t have rings? Gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune have them, but the rocky planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars don’t. Two theories describe how ring systems potentially developed. The first one says the rings may have formed from leftovers that date from the time a certain planet was forming. Or, as the second one says, they could be the remains of a moon that was either destroyed in a collision or broken apart by the gravitational pull of its parent planet.
You’re traveling through deep space circling stars and entire galaxies. Whoa, looks like this multicolored nebula will soon collapse under its own weight and explode like a supernova. Now let’s carefully circle this black hole. Try not to get caught in its gravitational field, or it’ll swallow you like a space monster. Hmmm, wait. What is that strange structure right there? It’s a glowing wall! And if you look closely, each glowing dot is an entire galaxy. That wall has about 100,000 of these galaxies. The Milky Way has 100 billion stars. So this wall holds a quadrillion (that’s 10 followed by 15 zeros) of stars like our Sun.
Ever wondered what it would be like to hear the sound of a black hole? NASA has got you covered. Here is a screaming black hole. “Screaming, in space?” I thought in space, no one can hear you scream. Well, let me explain. Using a telescope, NASA examined the movements of hot gas in a cluster of galaxies in 2002. Then they converted what they found into a sonification. The sound — how should I put it politely — wasn’t appealing, but that’s okay. After all, you’re able to hear the noise hot gas produces in a cluster of galaxies 250 million light-years away. Hey, would you like to hear the sound gas produces right here on Earth? Uh, never mind.
So you’re going on a journey to a black hole? You will need a lot of provisions because the nearest black hole is 1,011 light-years away. This black pearl was found in the solar system called HR 6819. It was hidden in orbit with two other stars, which you can see with the human eye. Scientists have been studying this system since the 80s, but this winter, it revealed its main secret. This particular black hole is considered relatively small. But despite this, its mass is four times bigger than our Sun, and it’s 2,500 light-years closer to Earth than the next nearest black hole.
Attention! Attention! Residents of all countries and cities of the world! A massive asteroid is approaching the Earth. Now its speed is several times greater than the speed of sound, and each day it accelerates even more. Once it enters our solar system, it will fly past Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The gravitational fields of these planets will also accelerate the asteroid. And our planet will be the final destination! A collision is inevitable. According to scientists, a meteorite the size of Mount Everest can destroy the entire planet. The disaster will happen in 350 days. There’s panic in the streets. People buy and build bunkers. Scientists and astronomers from all over the world were assembled to find a solution.
The Milky Way Galaxy where we live looks like a ginormous pinwheel rotating in space. It’s a spiral galaxy that appeared around fourteen billion years ago. It’s filled with a lot of stuff: stars, nebulae — which are clouds of dust and gas, planets, asteroids, you and me and your parents and that messy kid down the street — you get the idea. And all these fans out from the center of the galaxy in long spiraling arms — a marvelous view!
When you look at photos taken from spaceships or the International Space Station that show sunlit objects like Earth or the Moon, something seems wrong. Space looks too empty! No magical scenery of a nighttime sky full of stars. It would be incredibly boring to go stargazing in space since the sky is always so dark. During the daytime, the sky on our home planet is blue because of the diffusion of light. It happens when sunlight goes through the atmosphere. But if you were on the Moon or somewhere else in space, there would be no atmosphere to spread this light around. That’s why the sky there would always appear black. But it doesn’t mean it’s less bright out there. If you were looking out of the window of the Space Station, you’d see just as much direct sunlight as you would gazing out of your apartment window during a cloudless day — maybe even more.
Our ears can only hear sounds that fall within certain frequencies. Anything lower than 20 Hz is infrasonic, and anything higher than 20 kHz is ultrasonic. But even within that range, there are still some sounds that we can’t hear. It’s like the universe is pranking us! Luckily, many of these sounds are annoying, and we wouldn’t really want to hear them all the time anyway.
You might think falling into a black hole is as easy as falling into a giant pit. But boy, is it a whole different ball game! To actually fall into a black hole, you would need some incredible luck and a dash of wizardry. Moreover, if you were watching something fall into a black hole, you wouldn’t even see it! Why? Well, let’s try to understand the magic of physics. Falling into a black hole is really, really tricky. First of all, to even have a chance of doing this, you would need to aim perfectly and start your journey from very far away. It’s like trying to hit a tiny target from a long distance.
Let me take you to a place that seems to be out of this world. Life inside this cave has been isolated from the outside world for about 5.5 million years! And it DOES show. See for yourself.Due to such a long isolation, the conditions inside the Movile Cave [mow·vuhl] are like nowhere else on our planet. A unique ecosystem is flourishing there — even though there is a severe lack of sunlight inside the cave, and the air is toxic.
Photographs that scientists look at through their microscopes open a whole new world of tiny cells that our bodies are made of. And quite often, these photos look like the views from telescopes aimed at distant galaxies. A close-up of a human eye, for example, resembles a black hole in space, an isolated fat cell looks just like Mars, and a bunch of neurons looks like numerous galaxies scattered around the universe.
It seems like we already know everything. Smartphones, supercomputers, other planets — all the significant discoveries have been made. However, it was only in the last 10 years that scientists took the first photo of a black hole, created artificial meat, and constructed synthetic DNA.
There are movies that we are ready to watch over and over again, just because of their high-quality. We empathize with the characters, follow the storyline, and don’t even think about how all the events are staged. But it can take many days of filming and months of preparation to shoot a single scene, and a beautiful picture often hides years of painstaking work.