Without further ado here are 10 amazing facts about the universe.
1. The Universe was incredibly small before the Big Bang
In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago, all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence.Neil Degrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (1)
2. Earth’s location relative to the Sun
“Earth’s Moon is about 1/ 400th the diameter of the Sun, but it is also 1/ 400th as far from us, making the Sun and the Moon the same size on the sky—a coincidence not shared by any other planet–moon combination in the solar system, allowing for uniquely photogenic total solar eclipses.”Neil Degrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (1)
3. Supermassive black hole at the center of each galaxy
4. Dark energy
“The most accurate measurements to date reveal dark energy as the most prominent thing in town, currently responsible for 68 percent of all the mass-energy in the universe; dark matter comprises 27 percent, with regular matter comprising a mere 5 percent.”Neil Degrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (1
5. There are a lot more Stars
“If a star were a grain of salt, you could fit all the stars visible to the naked eye on a teaspoon, but all the stars in the universe would fill a ball more than eight miles wide.”Stephen Hawking, A Briefer History of Time(2)
6. The largest known star UY Scuti
One of the largest stars in the known universe is the hypergiant UY Scuti with a radius around 1,700 times larger than the Sun. However, it’s interesting that mass and size don’t neccessarily correlate that well. It is estimated that the UY Scuti is only 30x the mass of our Sun.
To give you an idea of the radius I wanted to compare 1 pixel on an image of 1700 pixels but it was simply too small for my naked eye.
7. Two Foundational Pillars
“There are two foundational pillars upon which modern physics rests. One is Albert Einstein’s general relativity, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the largest of scales: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and beyond to the immense expanse of the universe itself. The other is quantum mechanics, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the smallest of scales: molecules, atoms, and all the way down to subatomic particles like electrons and quarks. Through years of research, physicists have experimentally confirmed to almost unimaginable accuracy virtually all predictions made by each of these theories. But these same theoretical tools inexorably lead to another disturbing conclusion: As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right.”Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe(3)
8. First image of a black hole
This supermassive black hole is 50 million lightyears away in the galaxy known as Messier 87. Apparently it was chosen because it was the most “photogenic” of the candidates. For more technical information and the impressions of scientists around the world check out this more in depth article.
9. Timeline of the Universe
The timeline of the Universe as estimated over 13.77 billion years. The expansion originally slowed down until it picked up speed again due to repulsion by Dark Energy.
10. Hammer and feather fall at the same rate on the moon
Apollo 15 Commander David Scott conducting the famous Galileo experiment on the Moon. The hammer is a geologic tool and the feather well, I’ll let you find out.
- Tyson, N. D. (2017). Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. WW Norton & Company.
- Schulman, E. (1999). A briefer history of time: from the Big Bang to the Big Mac. WH Freeman & Company.
- Greene, B. (2000). The elegant universe: Superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory.