When Gene Roddenberry envisioned Star Trek, it was a future where scientists and explorers could soar over the world at warp speeds. In a few moments they could fly from one side of a solar system to the other. But even in a future where traveling at 2,000 times the speed of light is the norm, the universe is still expansive. In the next generation, the Enterprise never leaves the galaxy. That’s because space is big. Very large. If you were traveling at the speed of light, it would take 1
5 greatest things in space.
The largest stars in the known universe belong to the hyper-giant class. For comparison: our sun is a yellow dwarf star of the type G. Over a million earths fit into our sun. And the UY Scuti can fit 1,700 of our suns into it.
NGC 4889 Blackhole
Black holes are places where the super-strong gravity of dying stars compresses many things into small areas. Matter is so compressed that not even light can escape. And it is massive space phenomena that are part of the geography of the universe. There are black holes in the Milky Way, but the one in the galaxy NGC 4889 is much larger – scientists believe it is supermassive. It is 21 billion times the mass of our sun, 333,000 times the mass of the earth.
Galaxy IC 1101
Galaxies have no borders like states and countries. You will not reach a sign that reads: “Leave the Milky Way now and visit us again soon!” Scientists therefore have problems determining the exact size of clusters of solar systems. Your best guess for the largest (discovered so far) is IC 1101, which is about 50 times the size of the Milky Way and would take 5.5 million years to cross at the speed of light, or Warp 1.
NGC 604 Nebula
With a simple telescope, you can see nebulae – huge clouds of gas and dust in space – from Earth. The center of the sword in the Orion constellation is actually a nebula, not a star. Astronomers believe NGC 604 is one of the largest in the Triangulum galaxy – around 1,500 light years across. It is also a star nursery with young blue stars, not much bigger than our sun in the middle.
Hercules Corona Borealis Great Wall
Galaxies gather together because space is huge, cold, and lonely. No, they gather because of the attraction. Our own Milky Way lives in a cluster with about 20 other galaxies. We’re a small neighborhood compared to some big city groups out there, like the Hercules-Corona Borealis-Great Wall, which at Warp 1 would take 10 billion years to cross.
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