A woman took a seemingly harmless selfie on her morning walk, but when she posted it online later that day people told her she had been “close to death.” Now, she wants to warn others of the danger she faced without knowing it.
The secrets behind the mysterious 819-day Mayan calendar and its planetary connections over 45 years are revealed. Researchers shared how expanding the calendar’s length to 20 periods of 819 days uncovers the alignment with periods of planets in our universe.
A NASA spacecraft took a photo that is leaving many stunned. The image is an eerie shot from Jupiter, where neon green lighting is visible in the shape of a glowing orb. Along with it, the space agency offered an explanation about the color of the lightning bolt.
On August 20, 1977, the most ambitious space mission took off from Earth. The main goal of Voyager 2 was to study the outer Solar System up close. It became possible because of a rare alignment of planets. Voyager 2 was supposed to study all the gas giants of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Astronomers also hoped it would be able to find and explore the edge of the Solar System. Since Voyager 2 was built for interstellar travel, the probe was equipped with a large, 12-ft-wide antenna. It allowed the spaceship to send the data it gathered back to Earth. During its journey, the space probe discovered a 14th moon of Jupiter. Voyager 2 was the only spaceship to study all four giant planets from up close. It was the first human-made object to fly past Uranus, where it found two new rings and ten new moons. Voyager 2 also flew by Neptune and noticed its “Great Dark Spot.” That’s a colossal spinning storm in the planet’s Southern Hemisphere. The storm is the size of Earth and moves at a speed of 1,500 miles per hour! These winds are the strongest ever recorded on any planet of the Solar System.
We’re flying past the planets of our Solar System. We pass by Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Then we move through dark space beyond the edge of our world. We’ve reached our destination. It’s the Oort cloud. It’s a hypothetical region around the Solar System that holds tons of asteroids and blocks of ice. It’s likely to be where the largest comet in human history was born. And now, it’s heading toward the Sun! Bernardinelli-Bernstein was discovered totally by accident during the Dark Energy Survey. Our telescopes were pointed at distant space. Their main goal was to learn more about how the Universe was expanding. Astronomers also wanted to make a more detailed map of the observable universe.Scientists analyzed over 80,000 images and found a moving object. It was alarmingly close to our home planet. Its size was an impressive 62[ml (100 km)] miles. That’s about the width of Lake Michigan. It was an already active comet with a long tail. Usually, comets get a tail when they come close to the Sun. The heat from the star warms the comet’s surface, and light materials, like ice, begin to evaporate. This forms a cloud of steam and dust that stretches far beyond the comet.
You take off from Earth and park your spacecraft somewhere near the Moon. You’re now almost 240,000 miles away from your home planet. That’s almost 100 widths of the United States. Now, you take out a giant hammer and an enormous chisel using the robotic arms of your spaceship. You place the chisel at the Earth’s North Pole and strike its head with the hammer. Earth splits open like an eggshell, and you see it... Another planet.It’s Theia. And it’s hiding inside our planet like a yolk in an egg. You’d need to go back in time 4.5 billion years to find out how it got there. This beautiful nebula will soon become our Solar System. Colored dust and various space debris are slowly coming closer toward the common center. Soon this jigsaw puzzle of debris becomes too heavy and dense. The temperature inside the giant is rising. Soon, it gets so high that it triggers a nuclear chain reaction.
Dark, ever-hungry monsters live all across the Universe. They’re born when massive stars blast into space. Black holes as heavy as Earth are just as large as a ping pong ball. They don’t have a surface, but their gravity is so strong even light can’t escape it. Black holes don’t have physical boundaries like a membrane either. The event horizon, which is closest to a typical boundary, is a threshold which, after passing, you can’t get out. For a star, running into a black hole normally ends in a spectacular light show and its destruction. Just one star that astronomers know of managed to survive an encounter with a black hole as heavy as 400,000 Suns. It happened in a galaxy about 250 million light years away from Earth. Astronomers with really powerful equipment noticed bursts of X-rays that raged in space every nine hours. They thought they must be mayday signals from a star trapped by a cosmic abyss.
The most expensive stuff in the universe — yeah, grandiose — is called anti-matter. Its existence was first theorized in 1930, when the electron was discovered. Scientists thought it might mean the exact opposite should exist too, and they called this hypothetical particle “positron.” Later, antipodes of other elementary particles, protons and neutrons, were proven to exist as well.When a particle and its evil twin collide with each other, they disappear, releasing literal tons of energy — 10,000 times more than a nuclear reaction does. But there’s a catch: it takes about 100 billion years to create just 1 g of anti-matter, and it can only be created using the Large Hadron Collider. That’s why the cost of this substance is about $62 trillion bucks. And we’re not even close to getting that much!Throughout the entire history of space observation, only two objects from another star system, or maybe even another galaxy, have entered our Solar System. The first one was the Oumuamua asteroid, discovered in 2017. The second was Borisov — a comet found in August 2019. The cloud of dust that surrounds it allows scientists to learn more about substances that may have come to us from another galaxy.
BOOM! An explosion of supersonic waves, interplanetary heat, dust, fumes... The Earth’s atmosphere has been invaded by a cosmic rock the size of Everest! A few seconds ago, this rock, weighing trillions of tons, was hurtling towards Earth. It could fly from New York to Anchorage faster than you could fry yourself an omelet! This monster’s name? The Chicxulub incident. Epic name, right!66 million years ago, it crashed into the Earth. Back then, dinosaurs ruled the planet. But not for long! The epic collision took place in modern Mexico, in the Yucatán Peninsula, right near Cancun, where the dinosaurs were vacationing! Well probably not. Still, the huge space rock hit the ocean, but even all that water couldn’t stop the inevitable.The collision caused a huge amount of energy to be released. The horror on a planetary scale had begun! Imagine a mini sun lighting up the surface of the Earth, with tsunamis the height of the Statue of Liberty bursting from the epicenter of the watery impact. Hmm. Not good.
Recently, Chinese scientists discovered something interesting on the Moon... An unusual crystal. Moreover, they found out that this crystal contains an element that can literally replace nuclear fuel! Let’s find out more. The composition of the Moon has long remained a mystery to us. Half a century has already passed since the Apollo mission. Unfortunately, we haven’t traveled to the Moon much since then, so it’s not surprising that it’s not so easy for us to study it. But recently we’ve made a breakthrough in this area! In December 2020, Chinese scientists sent a Chang’e-5 probe to the Moon. The mission was named after the ancient Chinese deity of the Moon, Chang’e. Quite poetic, isn’t it?
I hope you feel well-rested. Because I’ve got a tough task for you. Don’t worry — it’s fun! You’re going to visit different planets of our Solar System and try to run on each of them! Let’s figure out where you can run the fastest and where you can barely walk! The fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, can run with an average speed of about 23 miles per hour. But his top speed is higher — up to 27 miles per hour! Sadly, we can’t all be Usain Bolts. The average person runs at a speed of 6 to 8 mph. But maybe, there’s a planet out there where you can beat the famous Jamaican sprinter’s records? But first things first, what will affect your speed when you run on other planets? For one thing, gravity. Depending on how strong it is on the planet you visit, it’ll influence your weight. And in most cases, the heavier you are, the more slowly you run.
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.
If you landed on Mercury, the first thing you’d notice would be how close it is to the Sun. It’s actually the closest planet to the big ball of fire and the smallest. But it’s not the hottest planet. Venus takes credit for that. It takes Earth 365 days to orbit the Sun, and it takes Mercury more than 3 months. Well, 88 days, to be exact. The days are boiling hot, with the temperature reaching above 800 °F (425 °C). But on the other side of the planet that the Sun doesn’t reach, the temperatures drop to −300 °F (-180 °C). Mercury’s atmosphere can’t hold any heat when it’s nighttime, just like a desert. Deserts have no atmosphere, which is why they have no moisture, and no clouds or rain.If you manage to get from one end of the planet to the other and always stay in between the scorching heat and freezing cold, then you can survive. But oxygen isn’t a friend to Mercury’s atmosphere. So you’d just live for as long as you can hold your breath. Plus, there’s a magnetic field that has solar winds from the Sun that create plasma tornadoes.
Let’s face it: as stars go, our Sun is actually, well ... pretty boring. C’mon, there’s nothing unusual about it. There are millions of similar yellow dwarfs in the universe. And yet we love it. After all, it’s the only star we have, and it gives us life. However... it wasn’t always like that. Once upon a time, the Sun had a twin... possibly an evil one! What happened to it? Well, let’s find out. This here is a giant molecular cloud. They’re also sometimes called dark nebulae. Here, there are many interstellar clumps full of gas, dust, and piles of stars. These clouds have no clear boundaries and often take weird crazy forms. You can even see some of them with the naked eye. Look at the clear sky at night — they look like dark spots all across the bright Milky Way.
Imagine leaving your house one morning and seeing not one but 2 stars shining in the sky! The first one is our good old Sun, and the other is... Jupiter! But how has a PLANET turned into a star? And what will now happen to Earth and its inhabitants? Before we find the answer to these urgent questions, we need to revise some things we know about Jupiter. The largest planet in the Solar System is a gas giant, which means it’s made up mostly of gases. Due to the pressure and temperature differences, these gases separate into layers. This creates those red and white bands that can be clearly seen from Earth.
It’s dark and incredibly cold. There’s no oxygen. There’s no water. There’s no life. But the James Webb Space Telescope doesn’t seem bothered by all this. Its main goal is to find the very first galaxies that formed billions of years ago in the early Universe and observe the stars making up distant planetary systems. Its mission is to... but wait! What is THAT?! The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered something absolutely amazing — a star-planet hybrid with very strange clouds! This bizarre world, called VHS 1256 b, is actually a brown dwarf. Those are bigger than planets but too small to classify as stars. They emit some light of their own and are quite hot. But their mass is simply not enough to fuse hydrogen into helium — like full-fledged stars do.
It’s the year 2031, and the first human has just set foot on the red surface of Mars. It was a long flight that lasted 172 days. It was a tough journey. There were lots of technical issues. There were some physiological obstacles. Astronauts had to deliver tons of equipment and energy-generating and life-supporting systems to the Red Planet. Those responsible for the mission had to understand how to deal with low-pressure atmosphere and catastrophic sandstorms. How to keep people safe on Mars’ surface, and how to bring them back to Earth after their work is done. It does sound like a science-fiction story. But soon, it’s going to be our reality. But the coolest thing? It’s not the limit. After exploring Mars, people might set even more ambitious goals. And this is what some of them may look like.
Jupiter’s moon Europa is covered in a thick layer of ice, but underneath it is a vast ocean of water, measuring up to 100 miles deep. Water ice was previously thought to be rare and only common for Earth, but it can, in fact, be found all over the Solar System, even on Mercury and the Moon. Saturn is less dense than water, so if it were thrown into a giant pool, it would float. Space isn’t supposed to be black: there are stars everywhere. Shouldn’t they light up everything around? You don’t see stars wherever you look because some of them haven’t existed long enough for their light to reach Earth! There are eight confirmed planets in the Solar System, but evidence shows there can be a ninth — we just haven’t discovered it yet.
Wouldn’t it be really cool if we could collect energy from space and just bring it down to our planet? That means we wouldn’t need to get electricity from wind, water, or other resources available on Earth.Millions of people would charge their phones, store food in the fridge, watch TV, and do so much more thanks to electricity we’d wirelessly get from space. It kinda sounds too good to be true at first. But this idea isn’t science fiction anymore. Not only is it possible, but we might see it work sooner than we think, maybe even by 2040.
Venus has exceptionally high temperatures, hot enough to melt lead. It’s the hottest planet in our Solar System, with a high-pressure environment and super-strong winds. The winds there are 50 times faster than the planet’s rotation. It’s getting stronger over time, and scientists don’t know why. But they did find something interesting in the planet’s clouds — a potential sign of decaying biological matter. Could there be life then? Not quite, since Venus has a dry, windy atmosphere and doesn’t have enough water for life to develop.
Voyager 1, which has been traveling through interstellar space for more than 45 years, and is trailing a long gray beard by this time (not really), it suddenly began to send strange signals to Earth. Even more bizarre, there are no signs that the probe has broken or anything. Scientists from NASA are desperately trying to find the reason. So... what’s happened, exactly? First of all, let me tell you a bit more about Voyager 1 and its long, lo-o-ong journey. Voyager 1 is an American space probe. Scientists from NASA sent it into space on September 5, 1977.
The good old Solar System is actually a pretty bizarre place, what with all its out-of-this-world phenomena that we, humans, haven’t managed to explain so far! There are rumors that a gigantic, undiscovered planet is hiding behind Neptune, volcanoes on Pluto spew ice, and a colossal canyon on Mars can accommodate the whole US territory! Well, let’s figure out if it’s true by talking about the most mystifying Solar System facts. The Solar System is 4.6 billion years old! So old — it’s a senior Solar System. Scientists came to this conclusion after they studied the oldest material they managed to get a hold of — and by that, I mean meteorites, of course.
Everything in the Universe is in constant, quite predictable motion. Some very complicated math can help us predict what the night sky will look like in hundreds of years! That’s why astronomers make up entire calendars of unusual celestial events. So, let’s find out more about the most interesting astronomical events that are waiting for us in the next 100 years.
Ah, yes. February 14, 2000. Just a regular Valentine’s Day, some flowers and some candy, the beginning of the new millennium, and... A good day to make history. NEAR Shoemaker (which stands for Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) spacecraft, launched in 1996 [February], finally got a date with asteroid 433 Eros. It wasn’t about swiping right but going around Eros and completing the first soft landing on an asteroid ever.NEAR almost didn’t make it there, because an engine misfire from 1998 brought it into the wrong trajectory, and it missed the target. Yet, engineers decided to let NEAR do the circle around the Sun for one more year — and it eventually made it.NEAR Shoemaker was created to find, target, and stalk some smaller space objects for around a year and collect important data about them. This spacecraft got more than 160,000 pictures of the asteroid’s surface which helped with research in the years to come — before that, some scientists took asteroids for just some random flying piles.
You’re strapped in a Spaceship that’ll take you all the way to Pluto for your galaxy backpacking trip. It’s the longest journey from Earth and without any shortcuts, so you’ll have to get quite comfy. It’s recommended for everyone aboard to have at least 8 hours of sleep at night.Astronauts in the International Space Station have little rooms suitable for 1 person with special sleeping bags and enough room for personal belongings. If they don’t, they’ll float, bumping into each other.
So you’re standing in a room full of explosive gas. One spark can cause an explosion so powerful that all the windows and doors would be just blown out with a huge column of fire. And you’re holding a match. You need a bigger target than this room. How about the largest room of explosive gas in our entire solar system? Meet Jupiter. It’s the fifth planet from the Sun, and the largest one in our system. It’s 11 times the width of the Earth, and almost 2.5 times heavier than all the other planets in our solar system combined. If we put Jupiter on the scales, we would need about 317 Earths to balance it.
It’s there, I finally see it, for the first time in my life! A grayish body far away in the sky, hidden behind the clouds, the size of 1-4 of a full moon. It won’t be there for long, the last time it was there was 33 years ago — and we’ll have to wait for 33 years more to see it again.Tellus, the mysterious planet humankind still have so much to learn about. For a long time, Earth was the only planet quietly traveling its circular orbit around the center of our Solar System, the Sun. Our solar system was generally a pretty stable place. Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and other planets — they all acted in a predictable way, always the same orbits. Until some time ago something unexpected happened — another planet entered the Earth’s orbit.
Betelgeuse. A red supergiant. This ball of boiling plasma is one of the largest stars in our galaxy and one of the brightest. It’s about 500 times larger than the Sun. But Betelgeuse is pulsating, getting bigger and smaller. At its peak, it becomes 800 times its average size. If this star were a bucket, it would fit about 300 million Suns — even though its weight is only 17 times greater.And here, about 500 light-years away, is Earth. We launch our faster-than-light spaceship and set off on our journey to Betelgeuse. A few seconds, and we’ve already traveled 240,000 miles [390,000 km] and are now close to the Moon. That’s 9.5 trips around the Earth. A traditional rocket-powered spacecraft would take 3 days to get here.
We fly away from Earth to look at it from a distance. It glows like a holiday tree! Big cities look like yellow spots at night. And during the day we see strange structures, like a palm tree-shaped island in the UAE or a dark band that runs all the way through China — the Great Wall. These are traces of human existence. Now let’s point our telescope at other planets. Mars? It’s just an empty, endless desert. Venus? Only rocks and volcanoes. Even if we look into distant space, all the planets out there are deserted and lifeless. Not a single trace of an extraterrestrial civilization.
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.
Well, looky here! You’re about to figure out what lies under the surface of each planet in the Solar System! Get into your spaceship equipped with the largest drill you can only imagine — and off you go! You start with Mercury. It’s the closest planet to the Sun. At first sight, the place looks similar to our good old Moon! But after landing, you understand it’s an illusion.
Imagine sitting at home, drinking coffee and watching a new episode of your favorite series. And suddenly — BOOM! CRASH! What’s happened?! Nothing terrible — just a meteorite that has just crashed into your kitchen after breaking the roof.
Let me tell you a story. In a star system far, far away — to be more precise, 2,600 light years away — there is an exoplanet called Kepler-1658b. It’s a gas giant that resembles our Jupiter. But what differentiates it from Jupiter is that this poor planet is doomed! It’s spiraling toward its parent star, which will eventually end in a fiery collision! But the most interesting thing? Astronomers would have remained totally ignorant of this fact if not for a tiny clue. It was a really minuscule change in the planet’s orbit.
In our Solar system, most planets spin counterclockwise — but not Venus. This rebel planet decided to spin clockwise, and scientists are still trying to figure out why. By the way, why do planets rotate in general? What defines the speed of their rotation? Does the Sun rotate? Buckle up and let’s try to answer these questions. Venus is the second planet from the Sun and the hottest planet in our Solar system. Did you know that Venus is sometimes called Earth’s “twin”? That’s because it’s similar in size and composition to our own planet. But that’s where the similarities end, because Venus is a pretty crazy place, to say the least. For example, the weather. On Venus, it’s always hot and cloudy. And when I say “hot”, I mean it — it’s like over 800°F there! And those clouds? They’re not made of water like the ones on Earth. Instead, they’re made of sulfuric acid. So yeah, you wouldn’t want to go outside without a really good sunscreen on Venus.
It’s only a matter of time before humans begin colonizing other planets, with NASA already wanting to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s. It’s safe to say that if we do start moving to other neighboring planets, we wouldn’t want to leave our 4-legged friends behind!We at Bright Side decided to get a little creative and imagine what our pets would look like if they adapted to the environments of other planets in our solar system. Here is what we came up with.
As we all know, living basically anywhere besides Earth in our solar system would be near-impossible. However, that doesn’t stop some researchers from imagining what life on other planets would be like if and when we colonize space. So, let’s forget about that for a moment and assume that we have the capabilities to do so and that no danger is real for us.