Human exploration of space began some 60 years ago, when the first satellites were launched and the first cosmonaut appeared. Let's talk about ten of the most unusual of them.
Galactic cannibalism. The phenomenon of eating one's own kind, it turns out, is inherent not only in living beings, but also in space objects. Galaxies are no exception. So, the neighbor of our Milky Way, Andromeda, is now absorbing smaller neighbors. And inside the "predator" itself there are more than a dozen already eaten neighbors. The Milky Way itself is now interacting with the Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy in Sagittarius. According to astronomers' calculations, the satellite, now at a distance of 19 kpc from our center, will be absorbed and destroyed in a billion years. By the way, this form of interaction is not the only one; galaxies often simply collide. After analyzing more than 20 thousand galaxies, scientists came to the conclusion that all of them have ever met with others.
Quasars. These objects are a kind of bright beacons that shine to us from the very edges of the universe and testify to the times when the entire cosmos was born, turbulent and chaotic. The energy emitted by quasars is hundreds of times greater than the energy of hundreds of galaxies. Scientists hypothesize that these objects are giant black holes in the centers of distant galaxies. Initially, in the 60s, objects with strong radio emission, but extremely small angular sizes, were called quasars. However, later it turned out that only 10% of those who are considered to be quasars met this definition. The rest of the strong radio waves did not emit at all. Today, objects that have variable radiation are considered to be quasars. What quasars are is one of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos. One of the theories says that this is a nascent galaxy, in which there is a huge black hole that engulfs the surrounding matter.
Dark matter. Experts failed to fix this substance, as well as to see it in general. It is only assumed that there are some huge clusters of dark matter in the universe. To analyze it, the capabilities of modern astronomical technical means are not enough. There are several hypotheses of what these formations may consist of - from light neutrinos to invisible black holes. In the opinion of some scientists, no dark matter exists at all, over time, a person will be able to better understand all aspects of gravity, then an explanation for these anomalies will come. Another name for these objects is latent mass or dark matter. There are two problems that caused the theory of the existence of unknown matter - the discrepancy between the observed mass of objects (galaxies and clusters) and the gravitational effects from them, as well as the contradiction of the cosmological parameters of the average density of the cosmos.
Gravitational waves. This concept means distortions of the space-time continuum. This phenomenon was predicted by Einstein in his general theory of relativity, as well as other theories of gravity. Gravitational waves travel at the speed of light and are extremely difficult to capture. We can only notice those of them that are formed as a result of global cosmic changes like the merger of black holes. This can be done only with the use of huge specialized gravitational-wave and laser-interferometric observatories, such as LISA and LIGO. A gravitational wave is emitted by any matter moving at an accelerated rate; for the wave amplitude to be significant, a large mass of the emitter is required. But this means that another object then acts on him. It turns out that gravitational waves are emitted by a pair of objects. For example, colliding galaxies are one of the strongest wave sources.
The energy of the vacuum. Scientists have found that the vacuum in space is not as empty as it is commonly believed. And quantum physics directly states that the space between stars is filled with virtual subatomic particles that are constantly being destroyed and formed again. It is they who fill the entire space with energy of an anti-gravitational order, forcing the space and its objects to move. Where and why is another big mystery. Nobel laureate R. Feynman believes that the vacuum has such a tremendous energy potential that in the vacuum, the volume of the bulb contains so much energy that it is enough to boil all the world's oceans. However, until now, humanity considers the only possible way to obtain energy from matter, ignoring the vacuum.
Micro black holes. Some scientists have questioned the entire Big Bang theory, according to their assumptions, our entire universe is filled with microscopic black holes, each of which does not exceed the size of an atom. This theory of the physicist Hawking originated in 1971. However, babies behave differently from their older sisters. Such black holes have some obscure connections with the fifth dimension, mysteriously affecting space-time. Research of this phenomenon is supposed to be carried out in the future with the help of the Large Hadron Collider. So far, it will be extremely difficult to even verify their existence experimentally, and there can be no question of studying properties, these objects exist in complex formulas and the heads of scientists.
Neutrino. This is the name of neutral elementary particles that practically do not have their own specific gravity. However, their neutrality helps, for example, to overcome a thick layer of lead, since these particles interact weakly with matter. They pierce everything around, even our food and ourselves. Without visible consequences for people, every second 10 ^ 14 neutrinos released by the sun pass through the body. Such particles are born in ordinary stars, inside which there is a kind of thermonuclear furnace, and during the explosions of dying stars. It is possible to see neutrinos with the help of neutrino-detectors of huge area located in the ice or at the bottom of the sea. The existence of this particle was discovered by theoretical physicists, at first even the law of conservation of energy was disputed, until in 1930 Pauli suggested that the missing energy belongs to a new particle, which in 1933 received its current name.
Exoplanet. It turns out that the planets do not necessarily exist near our star. Such objects are called exoplanets. It is interesting that until the beginning of the 90s, humanity generally believed that planets outside our Sun could not exist. By 2010, more than 452 exoplanets in 385 planetary systems are known. Objects range in size from gas giants, which are comparable in size to stars, to small rocky objects that orbit small red dwarfs. The search for a planet similar to Earth has not yet been crowned with success. It is expected that the introduction of new means for space exploration will increase the chances of man to find brothers in mind. Existing observation methods are just aimed at detecting massive planets like Jupiter. The first planet, more or less similar to Earth, was discovered only in 2004 in the Altar star system. It makes a full revolution around the star in 9.55 days, and its mass is 14 times greater than the mass of our planet. The closest to us in characteristics is the Gliese 581s discovered in 2007 with a mass of 5 Earths. It is believed that the temperature there is in the range of 0 - 40 degrees, theoretically there may be reserves of water, which implies life. The year there lasts only 19 days, and the luminary, much colder than the Sun, looks 20 times larger in the sky. The discovery of exoplanets allowed astronomers to make an unambiguous conclusion that the presence of planetary systems in space is a fairly common phenomenon. While most of the detected systems differ from solar, this is due to the selectivity of detection methods.
Microwave space background. This phenomenon, called CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background), was discovered in the 60s of the last century, it turned out that weak radiation is emitted from everywhere in interstellar space. It is also called relic radiation. It is believed that this may be a residual phenomenon after the Big Bang, which laid the foundation for everything around. The CMB is one of the strongest arguments in favor of this theory. Accurate instruments were even able to measure the temperature of the CMB, which is cosmic -270 degrees. The Americans Penzias and Wilson received the Nobel Prize for accurate measurement of the radiation temperature.
Antimatter. In nature, much is built on opposition, as good is opposed to evil, and particles of antimatter are in opposition to the ordinary world. The well-known negatively charged electron has its own negative twin brother in antimatter - a positively charged positron. When two antipodes collide, they annihilate and release pure energy, which is equal to their total mass and is described by Einstein's well-known formula E = mc ^ 2. Futurists, science fiction writers and just dreamers suggest that in the distant future, spaceships will be powered by engines that will use the energy of the collision of antiparticles with ordinary ones. It is estimated that the annihilation of 1 kg of antimatter from 1 kg of ordinary antimatter will release only 25% less energy than the explosion of the largest atomic bomb on the planet today. Today it is believed that the forces that determine the structure of both matter and antimatter are the same. Accordingly, the structure of antimatter should be the same as that of ordinary matter. One of the biggest mysteries of the Universe is the question - why does the observed part of it consist practically of matter, maybe there are places that are completely composed of the opposite matter? It is believed that such a significant asymmetry occurred in the first seconds after the Big Bang. In 1965, an anti-deuteron was synthesized, and later even an antihydrogen atom, consisting of a positron and an antiproton, was obtained. Today, enough of such a substance has been obtained to study its properties. This substance, by the way, is the most expensive on earth, 1 gram of anti-hydrogen costs 62.5 trillion dollars.