The universe is a pretty amazing place, from the unimaginably large, right down to the incredibly small. There’s an awful lot going on in this field we call “existence.”With the recent discovery of what is most likely the elusive Higgs boson particle, or some variant thereof, by scientist’s working at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding information having to do with the fabric of the universe
Let’s take a look at some of this awe-inspiring matter now, as well as a look at the Higgs boson particle, and see how we fit inside the intricate patterns that make up everything.
The Milky Way may contains up to 100 billion planets in the “Goldilocks Zone.”
That’s a very big number. When you really think about it, 10 billion trillion stars makes the cult of sun worship seem a little obsolete, although our star, the sun, is very important to us. Without it, life on earth wouldn’t be possible.
Let’s put 10 billion trillion stars into perspective, shall we? For those of you who know a bit of math, that would be 10 to the power of 22 stars, or written out, it would be 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. There are probably more stars in existence than grains of sand on all of the world’s beaches. If only 1% of those stars had Earth-like planets, the universe would literally be teeming with life.
An Asteroid Might Hit The Earth in 2029
The greatest chance so far, according to astronomers, of a large asteroid colliding with the earth and wiping life out is in 2029. Asteroids have hit the planet before, and caused mass extinctions, so there is some precedent for it happening again.
The culprit this time is the Apophis Asteroid (99942 Apophis), which is headed our way in 2029. There’s a little less than a 3% chance that this bad boy will crash into terra firma. Let’s hope Apophis gives the planet a miss, otherwise you can stop paying into your retirement account right now.
Our Galaxy Is on a Collision Course with the Andromeda Galaxy
The Milky Way Galaxy, which is to say our very own galaxy, is on a collision course with our nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. Even though these two conglomerations of stars are destined to smash together, you shouldn’t lose any sleep over the incident. The impending impact won’t happen for another 3 billion years. The chances of you being around for that galactic “fender bender” are pretty slim, unless you’re planning to cryogenically freeze yourself or something.
Neutron stars can spin at a rate of 600 rotations per second
The Earth Is Billions of Years Old
Our planet has been around for quite some time. It’s been around, in fact, for about 4.54 billion years, give or take 0.02 billion years. Life has only been on the planet for a short amount of time, but the variety of life that has crawled, slithered, swam and trod upon the planet is pretty spectacular — from single celled organisms, to giant sharks and snakes, to dinosaurs, to mammals. If that comet coming in 2029 (and again, in 2036) misses the planet, hopefully we’ll thrive here for a long time to come.
The Biggest Mountain in Our Solar System Is on Mars
Sorry Mount Everest — you’re not the king of the solar system. That honor belongs to Olympus Mons, a massive mountain on our planetary neighbor, Mars. Olympus Mons is a giant mound of red dirt and rock. This volcanic behemoth is 2,400 meters, or 80,000 feet tall, which makes it almost 15 miles high. Everest is a mere dwarf in comparison. This giant Martian volcano is either a mountain climber’s wildest dream, or worst nightmare.
The Apollo astronauts’ footprints on the moon will probably stay there for at least 100 million years
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