Our Universe is chock-full of mysteries, enigmatic processes that are hard to explain, and the ever-changing laws of physics that seem to bend and alter the deeper you delve into space oddities. This is why we like sci-fi movies so much – they actually answer the questions that make the scientists scratch their heads here in reality. Like what is that object roaming through our Solar System that can’t be classified? And what about those galaxies made fully of dark matter? Here are 6 most mysterious objects in the Universe.
The Red Rectangle Nebula
Gas clouds are known to take the most unusual and mesmerizing shapes throughout the Galaxy, but this one, the Red Rectangle Nebula, has baffled scientists with its shape and colour for years. According to one theory, the unique rectangle shape appeared due to the two stars in the very heart of the nebula. Their shock waves must have influenced the surrounding dust cloud, hence the amazing shape. They can’t explain where the gorgeous red colour comes from, though!
‘Oumuamua, which means ‘scout’ in Hawaiian, is a mysterious object that entered our Solar System around the Victorian era and has been travelling through it since that very time. Dr. Robert Weryck was the one to spot this oddity, which astronomers still can’t classify. Judging by its trajectory, the object formed outside of the Solar System and simply flew into it, not affected by Sun’s gravity much. By now, it has already gone out of our site, leaving humanity with more questions than answers. This elongate rock (around 1 km long) was like nothing we’ve seen before, which made many scientists think it was an alien probe of some kind. Others believe it’s a type of comet, but no one knows for sure.
Dark matter is one of the most mysterious building blocks of the Universe we still don’t know much about. Imagine the astronomer’s surprise when they uncovered a whole Galaxy filled with it! In 2009, they noticed some weird ripples in the disk of Milky Way, which always means some invisible culprit is altering our Galaxy with its own gravitational field. In 2015, they finally found the Galaxy X, which was literally invisible, lurking in the shadows, with close to no stars shining inside. Dark matter is what galaxies are made of and usually it’s heavily spiced up by stars and hot gases, but not this one! Dragonfly 44 is yet another dark matter galaxy the size of Milky Way, but unlike other galaxies, its mass is 99, 9% dark matter, making it one of the most mysterious objects in the Universe.
We keep on discovering weird objects on the outskirts of our Solar System. Ceres, the biggest asteroid, first got the status of a planet, but then, naturally, lost it. Pluto was degraded to a dwarf-planet status, yet the planetary situation is even more complicated than that. New objects keep emerging – like 2012 VP113, possibly a dwarf planet with a peculiar trajectory. Astronomers found 10 more objects with tilted orbits, which suggest there’s another large object that is altering everyone’s trajectories. If the info is right, it’s 200 times further from the Sun than our planet, its mass is 10 times more than that of Earth, and it takes around 10 000 years for the planet to orbit the sun, which makes it pretty hard to spot.
You’ve probably seen galaxies on pictures – some are flat spiral ones like our Milky Way, while others have a shape of a rugby ball. Yet others, like Hoag’s Object here, are none of those things. This galaxy has an old yellow glowing core and an outer ring of younger stars, but what about the middle section? It’s like something went right through the galaxy, sweeping away all the spirals. One theory suggests that another, smaller Galaxy, went right through the Hoag’s Object, making it look like that. Yet there are no galaxies in close vicinity to Hoag’s Object!
Space Bermuda Triangle
In space not too far above the surface of the Earth there’s a place called South Atlantic Anomaly – a region of our planet’s magnetic field that has been dubbed the Space Bermuda Triangle. Apparently, astronauts experience weird flashes of light when they’re passing through this zone – even the gadgets and hi-tech machinery of the International Space Station stopped working. Scientists link this weird phenomena with Van Allen radiation belts – rings of charged particles, which come closest to the Earth’s surface right at the South Atlantic Anomaly. Yet scientists still don’t know how it all works!