Top 5 Most Baffling Space and Astronomy Discoveries of 2012

8 years, 10 months ago
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It’s been a crazy year for scientists and anyone with an interest in space, astronomy and the vast, mysterious universe we live in. Here is a list of 5 baffling discoveries made in 2012 that may have escaped your notice:

5. A Planet Made of Diamond

planet made of diamond

The latest find by space-gazing astronomers might have turned up a one-time star that collapsed into a satellite made of pure diamond which now orbits pulsar J1719-1438 in the constellation Serpens.

By studying the arrival times of the pulsar’s radio beams, astronomers believe they have honed in on an orbiting companion with the density of platinum. This planet is now a stripped down white dwarf that is crystalline in nature and likely similar to diamond.

Though the planet is roughly 4,000 light years away, De Beers has already confirmed they are sending a fusion-powered starship equipped with miners and appraisers.

4. In 1883, the Earth was nearly destroyed

In an alternate universe humanity is dead, wiped out by a billion-ton comet and its broken children, who slammed into the Earth in the year 1883. At least that’s what almost happened in this universe, very nearly relegating us to the same fate as our dinosaur ancestors 65 million years ago.

Scientists now believe that evidence documented by 19th century Mexican astronomer Jose Bonilla is nothing less than proof that in 1883 Earth narrowly avoided the impacts of close to 450 comet fragments. Though at the time they were obscured by a parallax, thus going largely undetected, scientists now know these cosmic fire-stones came anywhere from 373 to 4,970 miles from slamming into the Earth!

3. Aliens Could Live Inside Black Holes

black hole

Simulated gravitational lensing (black hole go...

Image via Wikipedia

There may be planets supporting life inside supermassive black holes, according to Russian cosmologist Vyacheslav Dokuchaev at Moscow’s Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A civilization advanced enough–a Kardashev type III, for example–to survive the unimaginably violent tidal forces inside a black hole may be able to harness the power of the singularity itself as a source of energy supply.

Another mind-boggling black hole discovery this year was of an enormous reservoir of H20 found feeding a black hole 12 billion light years away. Literally, an ocean several times larger than the Earth floating in space and being drained by a black hole!

2. Faster Than The Speed of Light!

In a stunning possible reversal of Einstein’s once immutable law, particle physicists in Europe claim to have detected neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. The discovery raises the possibility of sending information back in time and bending the laws of the physical universe.

1. Mumblings from the Multiverse

The idea of parallel universes occupying an incomprehensibly large multiverse may not simply be a metaphysical conceit. Newly detected traces of microwave background suggest the possibility that other universes, ‘bubble universes,’ have touched ours, leaving craters of space/time.

This is part of a controversial theory known as ‘eternal inflation,’ which holds that a near infinite number of universes are expanding and contracting at once. It would be impossible for us to contact or travel to these universes, according to scientists.  They would likely have entirely different structures, laws of physics, forces of nature, and particles. We think dark matter, alien civilizations, and black holes are strange–other zip codes in the multiverse may only have existence in common with ours.

Incredibly, it doesn’t take a fancy degree or an observatory to get in on discoveries like these. Amateur star-gazers and astronomers use high-powered prosumer telescopes like the Orion StarBlast to observe the moon and other nearby celestial bodies.

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