7 Startling Facts You Should Know About Our Universe

The cosmos has always been a mysterious place. Its infinite vastness has attracted many great minds to devote themselves completely for finding out the answers to its mysteries. We have been able to understand a very minute part of the huge universe till now. Perhaps, a place where we can find the answers to some of the biggest questions troubling mankind, the cosmos continues to surprise us with its phenomena.

Well, most of us don’t really care about decoding the mysteries of the universe, but there’s no harm in knowing the awestrucking facts about the cosmos and feel amazed.

Here are some startling facts about the universe that you may not have known before.

#1. You think you’re standing? No, you’re moving…. Really fast!

space is moving

Any object on Earth (including the human body) is never in a state of rest. Even when you sleep on your bed, you are in motion. The Milky Way Galaxy, home to our Earth, rotates at a speed of 225 km/sec. It hurls across the cosmos at an approximate speed of 305 km/sec. Adding these figures, we are moving in space at a speed of about 530 km, or 330 miles/sec. So, in a minute, you have covered about 20,000 km, or greater than 12,000 miles. The next time your friends say that you don’t go anywhere, tell them this.

#2. We are made of stars

human body made by stars

All of us are made up of star stuff. Sounds fanciful? Well, as a matter of fact, almost all elements present on our planet originated in a star’s burning core.Everything making up life on Earth, comes from those shining stars.

The place of origin of all elements heavier than hydrogen, are the stars, and human beings constitute much more than just hydrogen. A human being is composed of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, calcium, and about 60 other ingredients. The only elements present initially were helium and hydrogen, and then the stars created some more elements. So, it makes sense to say that the major part of what makes up our body, comes from stars.

#3. The sunlight falling on you is 30,000 years old

age of sunlight

Astonished right? What we know is that the sunlight reaching our planet takes 8 minutes to travel the distance of 93 million miles present between the Sun’s surface and our skin. But, what many of us may not know is that the energy present in those sunrays began their life before about 30,000 years, inside the sun’s core. Sunrays were created through an intense fusion reaction. A major part of these thousand years were spent by the sunrays travelling to the surface of the sun.

#4. The universe gets its form because of the “Higgs Boson Particle”

Discovering the Higgs Boson Particle (nicknamed as the ‘God Particle’) has been a milestone in understanding the universe. The Higgs Boson, as scientists have understood, is the heaviest among all elements existing. It’s what gives mass to all particles in the universe. The tiny particles making up atoms are weighed down by the Higgs Boson, thereby giving substance to those particles.

FILE - This undated image made available by CERN shows a typical candidate event in the search for the Higgs boson, including two high-energy photons whose energy (depicted by red lines) is measured in the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision. Physicists Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain have won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics, Tuesday Oct. 8, 2013. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists for the "theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles." (AP Photo/CERN, File)
(AP Photo/CERN, File)

According to scientists, there’s a field occupying the whole universe – The Higgs Field. The Higgs Field is composed of the Higgs Boson Particles. When an elementary particle interacts with the Higgs Field, it gets mass. The more is its interaction with the Higgs Field,the more is its mass.

big bang

In the absence of the Higgs Boson, our universe is likely to be some sort of “cosmic soup”, in which particles would zip around with no substantial form. The Higgs Boson Particle discovery holds the same place in physics, as that held by Darwin’s theory of evolution in biology. So, it’s a really big deal.

Watch this video to get an idea of the Higgs Field and the Higgs Boson Particle:

#5. Mars has the largest mountain of our solar system

olympus mons

Mount Everest may get a bit disheartened at this, as it’s not the biggest mountain of our entire solar system. Olympus Mons, a huge mountain on our neighbour planet, Mars, has that honor. This gigantic mountain is made up of rock and red dirt.

world's talest mountain

This volcanic behemoth hasa height of about 15 miles,and Everest is merely a dwarf compared to it. For a mountain climber, climbing this giant cliff is either the worst nightmare or the wildest dream.

#6. Our galaxy may have 500 million planets able to support life

galaxy 500 million planets

Scientists in the quest for extraterrestrial life are paying attention to the “Goldilocks Planets”, which are the planets present in the habitable zone of a star. Our Earth has the proper conditions to support life – distance of Earth from the sun is such that the planet has the right temperature, water is capable of existing as gas, solid and liquid, and chemical compounds have the correct combination to build various complex forms of life. Other planets with similar characteristics are called Goldilocks planets.

It’s estimated that our Milky Way alone has 500 million Goldilocks planets. If all galaxies in the cosmos are considered,a huge number of planets may be capable of supporting life.

#7. Saturn floats

floating saturn

If the planet Saturn is put in water, it would be floating. The reason lies in the fact that water’s density is .998 grams per cm cube, whereas the density of Saturn is .687 grams per cm cube. As the planet is less dense than water, it floats in water.

Besides these, there are many other surprising facts about this scary yet wondrous place called the universe.At this moment, the universe is more like a jigsaw puzzle for us, and throughout history we have been trying to find the missing pieces. Scientists from NASA, ISRO and other such renowned space research organizations are constantly trying to explore the cosmos more and more. Let’s look forward to the discovery of new things about the universe in the near future, and most importantly, understanding how WE fit in it.

Image Courtesies: videohive.net, mostepicstuff.com, olympus-mons.tripod.com, telegraph.co.uk, atlasoftheuniverse.com, truthinsideofyou.org, timkanebooks.com, earthsky.org, penningtonplanetarium.wordpress.com, nasaphysics.cet.edu

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