18 Photos That Changed Our Vision of Earth and the Universe
It has been only 60 years since the first satellite was launched into space and in this short period of time, we have learned to build spacecraft that can reach other planets. We still know very little about the universe but, thanks to space probes and telescopes, we now can see and photograph very distant objects in space.
Bright Side has collected the most popular and beautiful photos that allowed scientists to update our understanding of Earth, the Solar System, and the entire universe. And at the end of the article, there is an amazing bonus about humanity.
18. The other side of the moon against the background of Earth
As you know, our natural satellite always faces us with the same side. The thing is that the time it takes the Moon to revolve around Earth equals the time it takes the Moon to make one circle around its axis. However, we don’t see the Moon the same all the time. For example, in the Arctic, we see the South pole while in the Antarctic, we see the North pole.
17. The evolution of Pluto
Pluto stopped being the ninth planet in the Solar System in 2006 and it is now one of the dwarf planets together with its neighbors, Eris and Ceres. By the way, Eris was the reason why Pluto lost its rank of a planet: Eris was going to be named the tenth planet in the Solar System but during the discussion, scientists decided that neither Eris nor Pluto are close enough to the classic definition of a planet.
16. Checkmate, Flat Earth Society.
This image that was taken on the summit of Mount Everest should put an end to the Flat Earth theory, as the photographer thinks. However, there is an opinion that this is a fisheye photo and that the lens curves the picture. But the most important problem that this photo attracts attention to is the amount of trash on Everest including the flags left by the people who have reached the top of the mountain.
15. The Bubble Nebula
The Bubble Nebula is approximately 7,100 light-years away from Earth in the Cassiopeia constellation. Its diameter is 7 light-years, which is 1.5 times more than the distance between the Sun and its closest neighbor, Alpha Centauri. The nebula was discovered in 1787 by William Herschel, but we got detailed pictures only in 2016 thanks to the Hubble Space telescope.
The age of the star that forms the nebula is about 4 million years old and its mass is 45 times the mass of the Sun. This is an extremely hot star. Its lifespan is not very long and according to the scientists, in 10-20 million years, it will explode into a supernova.
14. The launch of Falcon 9 with Hispasat 30W-6 satellite
On March 6, 2018, Falcon 9 delivered a communication satellite to the orbit of Earth that will work for 15 years. This was the fiftieth launch for SpaceX, and the satellite was the biggest one that Elon Musk’s company has ever launched to orbit.
Falcon 9 is special because its first stage can be used multiple times but this time, it couldn’t be landed due to some technical issues.
13. The atmosphere of Earth and the Moon
The photo of the Moon in front of the atmosphere of Earth.
12. ISS in front of the Moon
The first element of the International Space Station was launched into the orbit of Earth in 1998. Today, ISS is about 400 km above the surface of the planet and its orbiting speed is about 27,000 km/h. Today, the full price of the station is $150 billion.
11. The eruption of Sarychev Peak in the Kuril Islands
The Sarychev Peak is on the Matua island that is one of the Kuril Islands. This is an active volcano that has erupted 11 times in the past 250 years. The last eruption was in 2009, and the astronauts on the ISS took a picture of it. The eruption was so powerful that it caused the shore to become half a km longer.
10. Curiosity takes a selfie in front of the Martian landscape.
Mars Science Laboratory — this is the official name of Curiosity that has been researching the surface of Mars since 2012. Thanks to Curiosity, scientists learned about the dose of radiation that the participants of the expedition to Mars will get. It’s 300 times higher than the yearly norm set for people working in the nuclear field. That’s why the maximum time that a person can spend on the red planet should not be longer than 500 days.
9. A bulge in the middle of the Milky Way Galaxy
The center of our galaxy is 27,700 light-years away from us and it’s the most active part of the Milky Way where new stars are formed. The bulge itself is a dense collection of old stars. It is believed that in the center of our home, there are 2 black holes, one of which is 43 million times more massive than the Sun.
8. Mars 50 million miles away from Earth
In May 2016, Mars was as close as 80 million km to Earth which let the Hubble Telescope “have a good look” at objects 30×50 km. You can see the clouds above the poles of the red planet, the Cassini crater, the Huygens crater, and the Schiaparelli crater. By the way, scientists think that Martian craters were once filled with water, and that the Cassini crater had more water than the Baikal.
7. The most detailed image of the Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula in the constellation of Taurus is actually what remains of a supernova that Chinese astronomers witnessed in 1054. There is a neutron star in the center of the nebula that was also formed as a result of the explosion. Its diameter is 20-30 km and the mass is close to the mass of the Sun.
6. A forming star 4.5 light-years away from the Cygnus constellation.
This space caterpillar is a forming star that is collecting matter using the gas around it. Scientists are not completely certain that this space “embryo” will be able to gather enough mass because there are O-type stars around. These stars (there are only 65 of them in the visible universe) are the brightest and hottest objects in space.
Such stars are near the forming star which, in case they collect enough matter, will be brighter and bigger than the Sun, and the radiation they emit destroys the star clouds.
5. The first photo taken by Neil Armstrong on the Moon
On July 21, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first step on the Moon and said his famous phrase, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” 15 minutes after Armstrong stepped on the Moon, Bull Aldrin joined him. This was when the new era of space exploration started.
By the way, the white bag on the photo is a bag of trash.
4. A “jigsaw” of the latest pictures of Saturn made by Cassini
On September 15, 2017, the Cassini probe entered the atmosphere of Saturn and ceased to exist one month before its 20th anniversary. For 20 years of its work, it provided scientists with a lot of information about Saturn, its satellites, and left us amazing photos of the gas giant.
3. The Veil Nebula
Approximately 1,470 light-years away from our planet, there is the Veil Nebula which is the remnant of a supernova. It is so huge that despite the immense distance, its size is 5 times bigger than the size of the Full Moon. More than that, because of the size of the nebula, scientists gave names to different parts of the nebula.
2. The Helix Nebula
One of the most beautiful and unusual objects in the visible universe is the Helix Nebula, or as it was also called — “Eye of God.” It’s approximately 650 light-years from the Sun and it’s one of the closest objects of its kind. It’s interesting that this nebula appeared thanks to a star that was similar to the Sun. It finished its life cycle and turned into a white dwarf star. This means that in 6 billion years, there will be another “Eye of God” instead of the Sun.
1. The newest picture of Jupiter, May 2018
The space probe Juno took a unique picture of Jupiter. It’s taken from an unusual angle where the Red Spot that is a giant non-stop storm is on the northern hemisphere. Besides, you can see other storms on the planet but all of them are much smaller than the most famous one. The value of the photo, according to scientists, is that the planet is captured in its natural colors and that will be a significant help in the study of it.
Bonus: If every human alive today was piled into the Grand Canyon, we wouldn’t even come close to filling it up.
Which of these pictures amazed you the most? Tell us in the comment section below!
Preview photo credit Vsauce / youtube