Fastest Things in The Universe


Hello peoples we are again here to tell you some refreshing and amazing articles today our topic is some of the most Fastest things present in our Universe, Did you know that some galaxies move relative to us faster than the speed of light? Interesting huh?! Actually, the universe is getting bigger all the time. Some of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way are receding at a rate surpassing 240,000 kilometers per hour. And those are the slow ones the most distant galaxies actually zoom away from us faster than the speed of light. It’s important to bear in mind that this high speed galactic exodus breaks no laws of physics, however, from its viewpoint the universe itself is expanding, that is the very spacetime fabric upon which all of existence is stitched. Astronauts and cosmologists orbiting the Earth on the international space station easily exceed the land speed record which is over 1200 kilometers per hour, since they are hurtling around the globe with velocity around 28,000 kilometers per hour. And the fastest any human has ever travelled is 39,000 kilometers per hour which is equivalent to 11 kilometers per second; it’s a speed hit by the american astronauts aboard Apollo 10 during their return from the Moon in May 1969. These speeds sound to be very impressive until we realize that they are outpaced by even the mundane astronomical objects. In this Article we are introducing the fastest objects in the universe! 

1- Starting with our own planet Earth that orbits the Sun once each year, the Earth must maintain an average speed of more than 107,000 kilometres per hour in order to stay in orbit. Even though we are ferried along at this agitated speed at every moment of our daily lives, we don’t feel its effects luckily for us and that’s because the Earth is approximately moving in a straight line that’s the curve of its orbit is very slight and its course is changing by only around 1 degree per day. Therefore, despite the high velocity of our planet’s orbital motion, its orbit is so big that the effects are virtually diminished. It’s crucial to note that the Earth speed is far beyond the speeds we are used to experiencing on a daily basis, however, the Earth in turn is dwarfed by the frantic speed that many other celestial bodies routinely encounter. 

2- The Earth orbits the Sun at 107,000 kilometers per hour but it’s easily outpaced by Mercury, the innermost planet in our solar system. Well suited by its name which means the fast moving messenger to the gods, this hot and small rock orbits the sun at more than 170,000 kilometers per hour. Mercury was the fastest moving planet we knew of until the 1990s, however, various new discoveries of planets outside our solar system revealed that Mercury no longer ranks even in the top 100 and it’s also quite pedestrian by our modern standards. As of July 2020, there are 4,281 confirmed planets in 3,163 systems with 701 systems having more than one planet. Additionally, more planets are being added to the list on a weekly basis. These other worlds known as extra solar planets or exoplanets are a strange group, usually bearing some resemblance to the familiar planets of our own solar system. The most remarkable discovery among these exoplanets has been a category of planets known as “Hot Jupiters” and yes, they are named so because they are gas giant planets like our own Jupiter, the only difference is that their orbits are extraordinarily close to their parent stars. Consequently, a typical Hot Jupiter is separated from its parent star by only 5% of the Earth Sun distance and races around its entire orbit in a couple of days. Comparing this to Mercury that sits about 40% of the Earth distance to the Sun and takes 88 days to complete one orbit, we can realize how Mercury is a real stroller! The fastest moving Hot Jupiter is called WASP-12b which orbits an unremarkable star known as “2 MASS J06303279+2940202” or “MASSJ0630” ,for short, located 870 light years from Earth in the constellation Auriga. The term WASP refers to “ Wide Angle Search for Planets” and the number “12” is because this was the 12th star for which the WASP project discovered an orbiting planet, moreover, the “b” letter is placed to indicate that the planet is the second object known in this star system. For example, “WASP-12a” would be the parent star itself. Meanwhile, if a second planet were discovered around this star it would be called “WASP-12c”. It’s worth mentioning that WASP-12b is far too faint to be directly observed via any telescope and that’s because its parent star outshines it by a factor of 3000. Instead, it was discovered through a simple,but not easily applicable, technique called the transit method. 

3- The fastest Earth sized planet, discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is called Kepler-78b which is so close to its parent star that a year on that exoplanet lasts about 8.5 hours, making it the one of the fastest exoplanets ever seen. The planet is far outside the habitable zone of its parent star, where liquid water and maybe life could exist. Due to these findings, scientists have described the Kepler-78b as a “lava planet”. However, a good relieving discovery for scientists is that the parent star of this planet is bright enough for other telescopes to closely spot and observe its surface along with the other undiscovered planets that could exist in this star’s system. Due to the fact that Kepler-78b is bearing a resemblance to the earth from a size perspective, it’s more likely to be a hot Earth. Actually, it’s about 100 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun; in addition to this, it’s orbiting a star system that’s about 750 million years old which is about six times younger than the solar system. The planet's surface temperature reaches from 2,026 to 2,826 degrees Celsius. 

4- Due to the homogeneity and isotropy of our universe, measuring any dynamical property of a celestial body depends on a particular reference frame, such that, there’s no preferred point in our universe. For example; when we measure the speed of an object, the answer depends on our point of view. One physical concept to understand is the Doppler effect which is, by definition, an increase or decrease in the frequency of sound,light or other waves as the source and observer move “towards” or “ away from” each other. The effect causes a sudden change in pitch noticeable in a passing siren, as well as the Red Shift seen by astronomers. Bearing this concept in mind, any claims of a cosmic speed record need to be qualified by the point of view from which they were measured. In particular, we have illustrated how the exoplanet WASP-12b orbits its parent star at an extremely fast speed which is actually measured from the perspective of the parent star itself. You may ask yourself, if we are going to consider the relative velocity of the astronomical objects at hand, such as exoplanets and their parent stars, then what if the star is also moving across space at some high speed? Actually, this is a very good question. From an external point of view, our Sun is considered to be a racing star. As is every star we can normally see with the naked eye, the Sun is in orbit around the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. Additionally, the Milky Way rotates at an extremely slow rate that our solar system takes more than 200 million years to complete one cycle around the center of the galaxy. However, the length of the cycle is approximately 170,000 light years. Therefore, even though the Sun might take 200 million years to cover one cycle, it has no time to slow down as recent measurements have shown that the Sun’s orbital speed around the Milky Way is around 914,000 kilometers per hour which sounds to be an extreme speed from our point of view, however, most of the stars in our neighbourhood are following similar orbits which appear to be gradual and circular orbits around the center of the Milky Way. Nevertheless, recently, astronomers have discovered a population of what is known to be “hyper velocity stars” whose velocities exceed those of other regular stars like our Sun and follow very different trajectories. The existence of hyper velocity stars is strongly related to supermassive black holes at the center of most of the galaxies like the Milky Way. More specifically, in 1951, Australian astronomers“Jack Piddington” and “Harry Minnett” built a radio telescope in the south western suburbs of Sydney. One of their important findings was an intense source radio emission coming from the Constellation Sagittarius at the center of the Milky Way. That source turned out to be a supermassive black hole and it’s called “Sagittarius A*” pronounced A-star. it also sits at the exact geometric center of our galaxy; everything in the Milky Way circles around the center in an orbit except for Sagittarius A* which stays still. Furthermore, observations show that Sagittarius A* is millions of times heavier than the Sun, however, it’s so small that it could actually fit inside the orbit of Mercury. Now we are going to discuss the relation between hyper velocity stars and supermassive black holes such as Sagittarius A*, what does a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, the one object in the entire galaxy that is perhaps not moving at all, have to do with hyper velocity stars? As an answer to this question, in 1998, astronomer Jack Hills considered a reasonable scenario when two tightly bound stars that orbit each other in a binary system have a close encounter with a supermassive black hole. The straightforward guess is that the two stars will just fall into the black hole and disappear forever. However, Hills realised that, occasionally,the black hole’s gravity will be able to break the binary system into two separate stars and one of them will be captured by the black hole while the other one can be launched away at an extremely high speed of one million kilometers per hour. The first hyper velocity star in our galaxy was discovered by the astronomer Warren Brown in 2005. Using the MMT observatory in Tucson, Arizona,astronomers led by Dr. Brown at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are the first to report the discovery of a star named SDSS J0907 leaving our galaxy, speeding along at over 1.5 million miles per hour. According to their report, this incredible speed is likely the result of a close encounter with the Milky Way’s central black hole,which in turn flung the star outward like a stone from a slingshot. So strong was the event that the speedy star eventually will be lost altogether, travelling alone in the blackness of intergalactic space. Their findings are in agreement with Jack Hills’ proposed model of hyper velocity stars back in 1998. Brown and his colleagues spotted the first stellar exile in 2005, European groups identified two more, one of which may have originated in a neighbouring galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. The latest discovery brings the total number of known exiles to five. Astronomers suspect that about 1,000 exile stars exist within the galaxy. By comparison, the Milky Way contains about 100 billion stars, making the search for hyper velocity stars much more difficult. 

5- In 1912, Austrain physicist Vector Hess,discovered the cosmic rays; it was a pioneering discovery for which he won the 1936 Nobel prize. Today we know a lot about the cosmic rays,first of all they are not rays at all but mostly they are protons and other subatomic particles. The Milky Way is flooded with them and they travel extremely fast since they typically travel at around 99% of the speed of light,which is faster than almost everything else in the universe, but still 11 million kilometers per hour slower than the light itself. However, the fastest speed ever measured in the universe, except for light itself, was precisely set at 1:34 am and 16 seconds on Tuesday 15 October 1991, near Dugway town, Utah in the United states. At this particular moment, the “Fly’sEye” telescope, which was designed for the search of cosmic rays, detected a shower of sparks coming from a cosmic ray which was probably a proton that slammed into the Earth’s atmosphere. The scientists operating the telescope were able to measure the speed at which the proton was travelling before being scattered into pieces, the proton was moving at 99.9999999999999999999996% of the speed of light. Cosmic ray scientists refer to this particular proton as the “Oh-My-God particle”, they have also suggested many models that describe the origin of such high speed cosmic rays. 

6- The universal speed limit is the speed of light which is about 1 billion kilometers per hour, so far exceeding this limit was discovered. 

Thanks for Reading Everyone! I’ll see you next time!  

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