deep space objects binary stars

The deep space is filled with cosmic wonders, many of which can’t be explained.

These wonders defy common logic and inspire scientists as they peer into the fathomless depths of space.

1. Bizarre Mass of Objects Orbiting Star

deep space objects KIC 8462852

A strange pattern of light found orbiting star KIC 8462852 Discovered in 2009 by the Kepler Space Telescope, KIC 8462852 is brighter, hotter and more massive than the Sun.

Scientists have been locating planets in deep space by tracking the light emitted by nearly 150 thousand stars, since the fluctuations in light help to indicate orbiting masses. Usually, dips in light emissions measured are slight, dimming by one percent every few days, weeks and months.

KIC 8462852 displays not only more dips in brightness than expected, but dips that are extremely irregular and sudden. At one point, scientists found that the dips had dropped dramatically to 15 percent, and at another interval, 22 percent.

This could be explained by space junk, a collection of rocks and debris, but that only happens with young stars. Evidence suggests that KIC 8462852 is a mature star. Whatever is blocking the star is enormous, at up to half the width of the star!

2. A Nebula Shaped Like a Red Square

deep space objects Supernova 1987A red square

Image credit: NASA

One of the weirdest deep space objects is the most symmetrical nebula ever discovered, which was found by astronomers Dr. Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney and Dr James Lloyd of Cornell University. It’s located just five thousand light-years away in the Milky Way. The Red Square was discovered orbiting the constellation Serpens, the serpent associated with the origin of medicine in myth.

The square isn’t a literal square but rather a bipolar nebula, an hourglass-shaped cloud of gas and dust. When examined closely, two cones of light can be seen, resembling two rings of light found around supernova models investigating the 20-year-old mystery of exploding star Supernova 1987A. There is a possibility the Red Square will become a supernova.

3. Colliding Galaxies Don’t Exactly Collide

deep space objects colliding galaxies

Many are aware that the rate at which objects move, spin and orbit in space are vastly different than how objects move on Earth. It’s not surprising that objects collide into one another all the time, due to their gravitational pulls.

What is surprising is that the probability of two galaxies colliding is unlikely. Why is that? Well, space. Space is enormous, with 4.2 light years as the average distance between any two stars. However, these objects still affect one another. Presently, the Milky Way is “colliding” with the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, though this is known by scientists as “interacting.”

The clouds of gas within each galaxy become compressed. As the galaxies collapse under their own gravitational weight, they transform into new stars in a galaxy where star formation likely ended long ago. Though galaxy “collisions” occur every few millions of years, you can use a web-based simulation tool to model galaxy interactions.

4. When Binary Stars Have an Evil Twin

deep space objects binary stars

Image credit:

Binary stars are particularly strange stars, but some of them have an evil twin and exist within a relationship known as a cataclysmic variance (CV). The binary star pairs in a CV are a white dwarf and its companion. The process is roughly similar to the orbits of the Earth and moon. Imagine materials of the normal star being taken in by the white dwarf. The white dwarf orbits closely around its companion, tearing away at its essence, but the white dwarf is also the core.

American Museum of Natural History astronomer Mordecai-Mark Mac Low explains this weird relationship by saying “the particularly odd thing about these objects is that white dwarfs are the cores of red giants, and the companion stars orbit so close that they must have once been deep inside the red giant! It appears that if a red giant swallows a binary companion as it grows, the companion can sometimes strip its outer layers off, leaving a prematurely naked white dwarf behind.”

Sounds very similar to human relationships, doesn’t it? One, the red giant, gets a big head. The little-guy white dwarf then gets his revenge by eating him up from inside.

5. Huge Hole of Nothingness

deep space objects huge hole of nothingness

The Hubble Space telescope points itself into an area of empty space and takes an image. This image is known as the Hubble Deep Space Field and contains thousands of faraway galaxies. In 2007, scientists were surprised when they found a huge hole of nothingness. Since it was in the Eridanus constellation, some call it the Eridanus Black Hole.

A billion lightyears in diameter, this “hole” is a curious find for scientists. The hole isn’t part of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, left over from the Big Bang. Scientists had discovered a cold spot in the area of the Eridanus Black Hole, before the Black Hole was discovered, and this spot indicates dark energy which is responsible for the expansion of the universe. Is the expanding universe just an illusion? It’s a debate that won’t see an end anytime soon.

This hole is like a spider lurking in a hole of nothingness, having eaten everything surrounding it,  including CMB radiation. The supermassive black hole is so big that it likely consumed millions of galaxies surrounding it. None of this explains an even larger void found, among other vast voids, when by the Six-Degree Field Galaxy Survey (6dFGS). The void encompasses 3.5 billion light years, and not even the Big Bang Theory can explain it.

Controversy Incites Discovery as Technology Advances

There are deep space objects in the universe that science doesn’t yet have the technology to measure. Curiosity and questions lead the way. Controversial theories wage wars on conventional beliefs of how the universe works and yet encourage discovery as technology advances.


Megan Nichols enjoys discussing astronomical wonders and other scientific discoveries on her blog, Schooled by Science.

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