10 Interesting Mysteries of the Universe

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The Universe… The incredible difference in scale between the tiny world we live in every day and the vastness of all time and space begs the question of whether we will ever be able to grasp the fullness of the cosmos. But that doesn’t stop us from trying. In fact, contemplating the great unknowns must be one of the oldest hobbies in human experience. The pursuit has given rise first to religion, then to philosophy, then to people who make fun of religion and philosophy.

...

We may never understand the entire universe, but we can sure appreciate the fact that it’s so complex that it eludes us.

10. Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Alien, Et, Extraterrestrial, Space, Humanoid

This is really a simple mystery. Is there other intelligent life out there in the universe? Carl Sagan reminds us that if we exist, then, no matter how rare intelligence is in the universe, given how huge the universe is, we must have many neighbors out there somewhere. Frank Drake, an astrophysicist, created an equation that helps figure out how much intelligent life there is in the universe, and estimated that if only one in a billion planets has intelligent life, then there must still be over 6 billion planets with intelligence on them. Enrico Fermi, however, pointed out that if life is that common, then it is virtually impossible that we haven’t yet detected any signs of other intelligent life in the universe. So, the real mystery is this: what is it about Earth that makes no one want to play with us?

9. The Tunguska Explosion

Related image

On the 30th of June, 1908 (or the 17th, at the time; the calendar has been revamped since then), at 7:17 am (local time), something exploded over a region of forest in the Tunguska River Valley in Siberia, Russia. Locals many miles away saw something bright blue streak toward the area and explode with incredible force, sufficient to register on instruments in England. Later examination of the site showed that trees had been knocked down in a radial pattern from a central point, indicating an air burst of some kind. To this day, scientists aren’t sure what it was, and generally figure that it was a meteor or a fragment of a comet. Why did it explode in the air? Why haven’t we found any pieces? The mystery has kept UFO aficionados up at nights since then.

8. Rare Antimatter

File:ANTIMATTER FACTORY.jpg

Matter and antimatter are, in theory, created at the same time by the same event. When a normal baryonic particle is created, an antiparticle of the same mass and opposite charge is also created. However, while we have created antimatter in laboratories on Earth, we don’t see it in the universe around us. No one seems to know what happened to all the antimatter that should be there…

7. Consciousness

Stream, Consciousness, Flow, River, Fluid, Vipassana

What is the mind? Behaviorists say that it is just conditioned responses. But it’s hard to deny that our ability to reflect on our own thoughts is something distinct and interesting. Is it a mere side-effect of the way our brains work? If so, how long will it be before a computer becomes self-aware and asks for equal rights? How can you tell true consciousness from something designed to simulate it? Can consciousness survive the death of the brain that carries it? There are a lot of questions, but until we can have an equal conversation with either a robot or a ghost, there really won’t be any answers.

6. Dark Matter / Dark Energy

File:Dark Matter is Darker Than Once Thought (18434638914).jpg

Current models of the universe, and observations made by high-tech instruments, point to there being an enormous amount of matter in the universe beyond what we can actually see. In fact, we can only seem to perceive about 4% of the stuff in the universe directly. The rest is invisible, or “dark matter,” a term that just means that we have no idea what it is. Accompanying this dark matter is some type of energy that, like dark matter, we can’t perceive directly. We call this, in a moment of inspiration, “dark energy.” Apparently, there’s even more of this than there is dark matter. Different theories abound, but perhaps, as mentioned in #10 above, most of the universe is just avoiding us.



5. Time

Black Analog Watch

You think you know what time is? Okay, try defining it without using any terms that rely on time. Time is… well, it’s time. It’s what keeps every event from happening simultaneously, and it’s what distinguishes something that happened in the past from something that will happen in the future. Is it a dimension, like space? Is it a quality of matter? Is it merely an illusion, possibly created to boost sales of digital watches? The smartest guys in the world get headaches from this one.

4. The Beginning of the Universe

Universe, Sky, Star, Space, Cosmos

How did the universe begin? Did the universe ever begin? If the universe includes everything that we know, including time, could there possibly even be a “before” before the beginning of the universe. Current theories generally talk about a “Big Bang,” which is a massive expansion of all matter and energy from a single point, which is still continuing through the present day. What started the bang? Where did all the energy and matter come from? Are these questions even meaningful? What about creationism, if that is for you? If God created the universe and all the physical laws in it, what is he doing now that it is running itself?

3. End of the Universe

Ball, Sun, Strudel, Hole, Black Hole, End, Universe

Following the question of the end of the universe is the question of the end of the universe. Opinions vary on whether we can expect the universe to ever expire. There are several possibilities. One is that the universe will continue to expand, and eventually become so spread out that all matter and energy is just a homogeneous cloud of thin, lukewarm dust. Another is that gravity will eventually catch up with all the matter, and the universe will slow down and fall back into a single point, which may spark another big bang. Yet another theory notes that baryons and protons, the building blocks of matter, don’t seem to be being created naturally anymore, and if they decay (as some other particles do), the universe will simply fade out as all the particles just cease to be. In general, nothing untoward is expected to happen to the universe for many billion years, which will probably be a relief to those with long-range investments.

2. Multiple Universes

Parallel World, Parallel Universe, Universe, Physics

Current quantum physics raises the possibility that there are many universes besides our own, existing in the same space and time, but only interacting in certain limited ways. These universes may have their own separate histories and futures, and even their own laws of physics. This is all vague theory for the moment, but some day it may be possible to travel to the universe where your favorite singer won American Idol or visit with evil Spock.

1. Grand Unification Theory

File:CMS Higgs-event.jpg

For decades, physicists have been trying to make sense of the difference between Isaac Newton’s classical physics (you know, what you use to play pool) Einstein‘s relativistic physics, that involve very large or massive things at enormous velocities, and Heisenberg’s (and others’) quantum physics, which concerns things so small that you can’t even measure them without changing the result. These three sets of physical laws seem to play by their own rules, largely ignoring each other, and yet they all relate to the same universe. And so physicists have hunted for the Grand Unification Theory, which would substitute for all of these incomplete sets of laws and make sense of it all. Perhaps it doesn’t exist. Or perhaps it’s just too complex for human minds to grasp. One way or the other, it’s going to keep scientists arguing for some time to come.

Written by Glen Taylor


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85 Comments

  1. Actually, points 1 and 6 could be explained (along with the accelerated expansion rate of the universe) with a new research that Paul Howard Frampton published in April. The name of the paper is "Solution to the Dark Energy Problem"

    • I forgot, I could also explain the numbers 3 and 4 of this list. Since we all live in a black hole….

  2. My pick for #1 place is Consciousness. This is something we all have. What is it ?. Our inner or outer world is meaningless without it. When ,where, how,and why did it first came to be ? Parhaps this is where our energies should be directed : to know ourselves first. Let the gods figure out the rest.

    Human evolution is an ongoing process. I do not feel we have what it takes to answer these questions now; as they undoubtedly lies beyond reason.So untill we evolve into gods , let's kneel down and kiss nature's feet. How wonderful it is to be even a witness to all of this!

    So let's give thanks and praise.. .To What? …To Whom? …To that everlasting "Nothingness" from whose womb emanates this everlasting "Allness" .Call "It".."Him".."Her" "Mother" "Father" "God" whatever you fancy.

    Best website!

  3. Antimatter vibrates at a different molecular rate, therefor it is in another dimension that occupies the same space and time,kind of like a ghost would according to research. Or something like that. lol

  4. The best answer I can think of as to why no intelligent life forms wish to include us with their business is due to the fact that if they are observing earth at the moment, all they would see is dinosaurs, due to the speed of light. That is assuming they are the closest possible life forms to our planet, for the furthest away planets it may seem to them that our planet has not been created yet. So the only chance we have of aliens visiting our planet is if they get lost and happen to be close enough to see the relative technological advancement of us compared to the dinosaurs.

    • ah yes, but you assume at least 3 things:

      – their definition of *see* is the same as ours

      – somehow they're not attracted to dinosaurs

      – somehow they're attracted to human

      so it's dinosaurs fault, eh?

  5. When human consciousness is explained most of the others fall into place. It can be explained – without requiring a conversation with a robot or a ghost.

    D J Wray
    http://www.atotalawareness.com
    “The rules that control the way you think reside in a parallel universe. When you request a complex thought in this request/response model you are sending a requirement to the server, according to your rules.”

  6. I think that the dark matter might be low density, air-like clouds that are omnipresent in the universe? Since the universe is so large, if it were filled with variable density "gas-like" pockets with perhaps .00000001% the density of air, would that account for the missing matter?

  7. Moosa Baloyi on

    I'm very interested in the consciousness… There are more complex mysteries greater than Time and all mensioned above. Inferring to the mystery in the mind of human ; there is much greater mysterious complexity and "void" of reason why it is beyond conception. I hope to comment more. Great site, love it.

  8. Maybe there was no beginning & there is no ending & we are just trapped in an ongoing cycle of possibilities & events…OR there was a beginning & there is an ending & it just repeats itself??? Hmm… I wonder! Either way i hope no one finds out the answers… Because the more knowledge we gain ultimately leads to more destruction ….Food for thought.

  9. I wonder why “What happens after we die” is not on the list. Or should I take “consciousness” instead? IMHO, answering either this question or question no. 1 would mean the end of religion as it is… AKA the end of civilization as we know it! (I would rather know the truth, though)

  10. The answers lie within. Start meditating. Conquer all your desires. Command your own mind.

    A Jedi’s strength flows from the force..

  11. Natural-occurring anti-particle streams exist around the Earth and in outer space so it’s not a big stretch to imagine parts of the Universe are made up of anti-matter with small streams of particles.

  12. Here is question for anyone who will comment. If God was here in this world right now what would he look like? Would he be the smartest person? If he explains the grand unified which will be creation of all of this and meanings to life will the world listren? If he is a man will the world just think as him as a crazy person?

  13. The world looks for a God, are higher power in a infinite subconscious space. Everything in history since the beginning of earth points to, or says that he is already existing in a present life now. Has anyone ever thought about trying to find him in a finite point space like earth, where you could find him? The religion believes in the holy trinity which is two people and a higher power, it be one past (Jesus) one present ( human) and one future (GOD). Jesus died in are past and the present one exisit because God is his future. A subconscious memory of three lives energy pattern that cannot be canceled out, pure energy. Which is creation since you exist in his subconscious, and his life repeated in a infinite loop from small to big (atom human, human universe) . What you get is the creation energy.

  14. Scientists now think there are many universes existing simultaneously occupying the same space and time and yet unknown to each other because the laws of physics operating in each universe is different and the matter (or life) occupying these universes cannot interact or even be aware of each other. Perhaps that is what ‘Ghosts’ are, matter that has somehow escaped from one universe to another, that is why it is said that ghosts appear ‘out of nowhere’ because that how it would appear to us, unable as we are to sense another universe.

  15. I don’t know if anyone feels the same way, but to me, the biggest mystery would have to be after death. Of course , according to your beliefs, may it be religious or otherwise, you may have an answer which you think is the truth. Just because you believe it, it doesn’t make it any more true than any one else’s theory for what happens after death. I feel like our lack of knowledge for what happens after death dictates how we live our life and separates everyone’s believes.

    Assuming you are religious (I’m not), if God told you what came after death, then you could modify your life to suit whatever god told you. For example, if he said: “you will either go to heaven or to hell,” then you could live according to the things which will get you into heaven (I realize that this poses a problem, which is, what behaviors will get you into heaven?). On the other hand, if God said: “nothing happens after death,” then you could live according to what you think is better for you and those around you, for in the end, it makes no difference.

    Even if the answer didn’t come from God and instead maybe just a stroke of insight (assuming this stroke of insight is the truth), then I still believe that knowing what happens after death would help us to live a “better” (don’t know what other word to choose) life.

  16. MOST IMPORTANT ADVANTAGE OF COMPLETE UNIFIED THEORY (TOTAL PAGES – 424, PUBLISHED IN THE YEAR 1998) WRITTEN BY Nirmalendu das.

    1) THE COMPLETE UNIFIED THEORY FOLLOWS THE LAW OF NATURE OR PHYSICS.

    2) THIS THEORY IS THE THEORY OF CERTAINTY.

    3) THE COMPLETE UNIFIED THEORY IS VERY CLEAR AND EASY THEORY TO UNDER STAND THE VAST SCIENCE COMPARING TO OTHER THEORY AS THERE IS NO USE OF MATHEMATICS LIKE CALCULUS TO DESCRIBE THE WHOLE SCIENCE.

    4) IT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOW DIFFERENT FINDINGS FROM THE PARTICLE TO THE UNIVERSE BY THIS SINGLE THEORY.
    (THE CALCULATED RESULTS ARE EXACTLY TALLIED WITH THE FINDINGS OF OTHER TRADITIONAL THEORIES DONE BY THE SCIENTISTS IN THE DIFFERENT FIELDS OF SCIENCE.)

    5) THE COMLLETE UNIFIED THEORY CAN EXPLAIN THE INTERNAL MECHANISM OF MATTERS DURING EMISSION OF ENERGY. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO KNOW FROM THE TRADITIONAL THEORIES FOR EXAMPLE, WE DO NOT KNOW THE INTERNAL MEHCANISM OF THE EINSTEIN`S EQUATION E = mc^2 THAT, IN WHAT WAY MATTER IS RADIATING ENERGY AS m IS NOT ALONE .

    6) THIS THEORY CAN SOLVE THE STRUCTURE OF ELECTRON, ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION, BIRTH OF MAGNETISM, MAXIMUM MASS OF THE UNIVERSE, THE SUCCESSIVE DERIVATIVES OF BIRTH OF STARS, GALAXIES, QUASARS ETC. AND THE UNIVERSE.

    7) IT DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE DISTASTEFUL CONCEPT OF SCIENCE LIKE ZERO REST MASS OF THE PARTICLES ( MASS OF PHOTON, GRAVITION ).

    8) THE VALUE OF Pi IS CONSTANT AT EXCITED STATE OF MATTER WHEN PARICLE IS DEFORMED —— THIS IDEA IS WRONG. BUT THE SCIENTISTS ARE USING THE VALUE OF PI AS CONSTANT IN EVERY FIELDS WHERE NEEDED.

    9) THE COMPLETE UNIFIED THEORY DO NOT AGREE WITH THE EQUATION OF THEORY OF RELATIVITY OF EINSTEIN OF MASS AS VELOCITY IS NOT THE MASS THAT CAN INCREASE OR DECREASE THE MASS. THE VELOCITY IS ONLY THE ENVONRMENT OF MASS THAT INCREASES BY ACTING MASS TO MASS REACTION.

    10) THE COMPLETE UNIFIED THEORY FIND THE MASS OF CURIE PARTICLE WHICH IS RELATED TO ALL SUBATOMIC PARTICLES EVEN HIGGS BOSON, QUARKS. THIS IS VERY NEW SYSTEM THAT IN WHAT WAY ALL PARTICLES ARE INTERRELATED.

    11) COMPLETE UNIFIED THEORY IS SINGLE THEORY. WE CAN SOLVE ALL TO USE THIS THEORY.
    12) THIS THEORY CAN GIVE THE ANSWER THAT WHY BLACK PARTICLE, BLACK HOLE ETC.

    LOT OF THINGS IS THERE.

    EMIAL: [email protected]
    Dated: 16-09-2012.

  17. Past and future does not exist. It seems to do so because we remember the past and we expect the future. However both can not be gasped nor measured. The only time we observe is present. (nothing new)

    Mainstream-physics still try to find the smallest (fundamental) particle which in some magical way should solve the mystery of mass (gravity). As the universe is infinitely big how could someone assume to find a smallest particle. Infinity has no beginning and no ending. Therefore no smallest particle will be fond ever. (just a logical fact)

    There are new theories out there describing the structure of the universe much better than mainstream science. Check it out. (EX NASSIM HARAMIEN)

  18. Time is simply process of the thermodynamic arrow traveling towards entropy. That is the basic reason you can go forward in time with speed and gravitational tricks to slow your march towards entropy, and thus the passage of perceived time, but no matter how much you try it is impossible to reverse the thermodynamic arrow from entropy to order. These are some of the laws of the universe, the Laws of Thermodynamics. They are so well documented and so well proven that they are one of the few scientific principles to go past “theory of” and onto “law of”. Thus, reverse time travel is impossible.

  19. Walter Flatt on

    AND GOD SAID LET THERE BE LIGHT AND THERE WAS LIGHT. THE BIBLE SAID GOD CREATED THE EARTH AND THE HEAVENS AND I BELIVE HE DID. YOU KNOW THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING AWAY FROM US, DON’T YOU. GET YOU HEAD OUT OF THE SAND. A THOUSAND YEARS IS AS THE BLINK OF AN EYE TO GOD.

  20. The video was “OK” for someone with an average curiosity. I’m curious about things as they were, things present and things future. Time is a conscious reckoning.

  21. Are we sure that the universe began in the big bang or was there a previous universe which ended and formed our ones as matter can neither be created NOR be destroyed so it is not possible for BIG BANG TO OCCUR OUT OF NOTHING. Also if there are many parallel universes, then in those parallel universes would have life like as on earth.
    . Though whatever BE the truth , the more we will be solving the mysteries the more will they come up, and that’s the fun!!!