It’s no wonder that the Universe is a mysterious place where crazy stuff happen all the time. But to what extent? After watching the TV series “Cosmos” (which I highly suggest you watch) hosted by the legendary Neil Degrass Tyson, I felt compelled to share with everyone how mad things really are in the Universe.
Here are 10 facts about the Universe that I really think you should know about because you never know, you might get inspired to become the next Carl Sagan.
1. Stars are ghosts in the Sky.
The Stars we see in the sky are so far away that it takes their light a very long time to reach us. The nearest Stars could be years away, others are so far away it could take us centuries to reach them. That is why we measure their distance from the Earth not in Miles or Kilometers, but in Light Years; which is the distance that Light, the fastest element in the Universe, can cover in 1 year (about 9.5 trillion Kilometers).
That means that when you look up to the sky, the starlight you see in the moment actually left the stars a long time ago. Let’s say a star is 100 Light Years away from Earth, when you look at it you’re seeing it the way it was a 100 years ago! Some stars might actually be already dead, but we’re still receiving their light, and that is why they can be considered Ghosts.
2. Relatively, we aren’t born yet and the Dinosaurs are still alive.
Building up on the previous point, imagine you were standing right now on a planet that is 65 million Light Years away from Earth. Now let’s say you have a Telescope that is powerful enough to see what is happening on the Earth’s surface from where you are. You know what you’ll be seeing? The Dinosaurs. You’ll be seeing what was happening on the Earth 65 million years ago. It’s based on the same concept as the Ghost Stars, you are receiving the light (light here doesn’t necessarily mean luminosity but rather everything visible to the human eye) from a distance of 65 million Light Years, so that’s how long it will take to get to you and that is why you’ll only be seeing what was happening on Earth 65 million years in the Past.
3. The sunrise is only an illusion.
During the first 2 minutes of the sunrise, what you are seeing is actually not really the Sun. The atmosphere bends the incoming rays of sunlight so we see the image of the sun projected above the horizon, 2 minutes before the physical sun is actually there. To make things even more interesting, the sun never actually rises, it’s the Earth that turns and we turn with it.
4. There are mini universes inside us.
5. “In Nature, nothing is Created and nothing is Destroyed, everything is Transformed” – Antoine Lavoisier.
What is infinity? Neale Walsch explained the concept in his book ‘Conversations With God’: “Take a tiny grain of sand and cut it in half, you get 2 smaller halves. Now cut those in half, you get 2 smaller halves. Repeat the process and you get smaller and smaller particles. How many times can you divide it until it ceases to exists? It never ceases to exists. Matter only transforms.”
6. Humans are extremely small.
In general there is a small amount of species that might make us, Humans, feel small. It’s only when we compare ourselves to the big Stars out there in Space that we can understand how small we really are in the Cosmic scale. But just how small are we? To understand the extent of our nothingness check out this GIF. It is the size of Earth compared to the Sun and other Stars discovered in the observable Universe.
7. Humanity is only 8 minutes old.
The Universe is 13.8 billion years old. Imagine the following concept with me: let’s compress these 13.8 billion years into a single calendar-year ; January 1st being the birth of our Universe and December 31st at midnight being this moment right now. In this calendar, Humans were only born on December 31st at 11:52 PM, 8 minutes ago.
8. Even when your just standing still you’re moving at incredible speed.
You might be standing still and you might feel like you’re not moving, and you have gravity to thank for that. The truth is, even when you’re standing still, you’re moving at around 900,000 km/h! The Earth spins around itself so by being on the surface you are already moving around it’s center at about 1,600 km/h. The Earth also spins around the Sun, adding to our initial speed. The Solar System itself orbits the center of the Milky Way, our Galaxy. Finally (or maybe not), The Milky Way itself is moving throughout the Universe at incredible speed. All these movements added up make you faster than The Flash without even noticing.
9. Each breath you take has already been inhaled by every single person that ever existed.
Every breathe you take contains 100 million molecules that have already been inhaled by every single person that ever existed. It’s what scientists call Cosmic Reincarnation. It might not be true for somebody born 5 minutes ago obviously. This means that you inhaled the same breath as Einstein, and Hitler!
10. “Looking up” is relative.
Imagine you’re standing on Earth and your friend is standing on the Moon. Now imagine both of you are looking at each other, you’re both “looking up”. From your position, your friend is “looking down” on you, but he’s actually also “looking up” from his position while you’re “looking down” on him… Huh?