The world of science has been capturing our imagination for ages. Especially in the current times, when a part of the public is skeptical about the things scientists tell us. While causing a divide, it reminds us just how much (and little) humans know about the world around us, whether it’s Earth, space, living beings and entities that live in them, or our own bodies.
So today we are diving into a mind-blowing science class where facts sound too crazy to be true. And thanks to Redditor analyzeTimes, who asked “What is a scientific fact that absolutely blows your mind?” on the Ask Reddit community, we have a whole lot to uncover. From a Voyager that has been traveling >30,000 mph for 43 years and is only 20 light hours away to our brains simultaneously creating stories and being genuinely shocked by plot twists as we dream, these are some of the best ones to mess with our brains.
Scroll down, upvote your favorites, and share a scientific fact you find hard to wrap your head around in the comments below!
#1When you dream, one portion of your brain creates the story, while another part witnesses the events and is really shocked by the plot twists.
Image credits: Longjumping_Owl9929
#2Dinosaurs lived on the other side of the galaxy from where we are now.
Image credits: nolesein
#3Hippos sweat sunscreen. They produce "sweat" made of one red and one orange pigment. The red pigment contains an antibiotic, while the orange absorbs UV rays.
Image credits: MagicalMonarchOfMo
#4I recently read about the Split-Brain experiments. There is a procedure for severe epilepsy that involves cutting the connecting nerves of the two brain hemispheres, resulting in the two hemispheres being unable to communicate with each other. The experiment shows that both halves can answer questions independently of each other, have seperate opinions/preferences, form memories independantly. Basically suggesting that there are two minds in the brain. That just blows my mind(s).
Image credits: Mlinch
#5The time period in which dinosaurs lived is so vast, there were dinosaur fossils when dinosaurs were still alive.
Image credits: daric
#6If the entirety of the Earth’s history were compressed down to a single day, humans of any sort wouldn’t appear until the last second before midnight.
Image credits: MagicalMonarchOfMo
#7The knowledge that the atoms of our bodies contain elements only forged in the center of stars, and that such stars upon death blow the elements via supernova across the universe and into our very existence. We are made of star dust.
Image credits: analyzeTimes
#8Some forms of anaesthesia don’t numb you to pain- they make you forget that you felt it.
Image credits: zygomelonm
#9The size of animals still blows my mind. You can read about how a manta ray is 23 feet long and 3 tons but it doesn’t really hit you until you realize that’s heavier than most cars.
Image credits: nuttynutdude
#10If some sort of super-advanced alien species on a planet 80 million light years away from Earth built a high-tech telescope that let them see objects on the Earth's surface, they would be seeing dinosaurs right now.
#11I spent some time with Gene Cernan, the Apollo 17 astronaut who was the last guy to walk on the Moon. He told me two things that I couldn’t stop telling people:
1. the Earth is round in space like a ball, not flat looking like the Moon is to us. He said while looking up from the lunar surface, the Earth just hung there, like a grapefruit that he could almost grab if he just jumped high enough. Could see the weather change too.
2. because of the smaller size of the Moon, not only is it’s curve very visible, the apparent horizon is also much closer so he said there were moments where if he ran too fast or jumped too high he felt like he was going to fall off.
#12Trees can communicate and cooperate using a network of underground mycelium. They can store excess energy in it for later use, can trade different nutrients with neighbors so their needs are met, take care of their young when they're unwell, and even warn others of a spreading disease or parasite.
#13If you put 1 of every animal in a bag and then pick one out you have a 1/5 chance in picking a beetle.
Image credits: ItsStillNagy
#14An object has every color except the one you think it has, because its the only color that doesn't get absorbed.
Image credits: D4nSonY
#15Voyager 1 has been traveling >30,000 mph for 43 years and it's only 20 light hours away.
Image credits: ruined-on-the-day
#16Cleopatra lived closer to the moon landing than the building of the great pyramids.
#17The astronauts on the ISS aren't floating around because of lack of gravity, far from it. They are in constant free fall, falling over the horizon of earth. Being pulled by gravity towards the earth.
Image credits: SwingDancerStrahd
#18Whales will grow up singing a specific song based on where they were born, but they’ll learn verses of other songs from whales they encounter throughout their lives!
#19You can fit all the planets (Pluto included) between the Earth & Moon.
Image credits: AnxiousIndicator
#20Sharks are older than trees, also, trees almost destroyed all land life on earth as there use to be nothing that could decompose them, so dead trees covered the ground and killed all other vegetation. Only once fungus evolved did trees start decomposing.
#21Slime molds don’t have brains or nervous systems but some how retain information and use it to make decisions. Even more crazy is that they can fuse with another individual and share the information.
Image credits: Emmarae21
#22That there is a species of jellyfish called Turritopsis dohrnii, that can become young again when damaged or stressed. So they become young again. So they are immortal. Just an addition, the tardigrades. They can survive the vacuum of space.
Image credits: TheRealMonreal
#23A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 31 years. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.
#24If all the DNA in the average person was stretched out in a single line, it could reach from Earth to the Sun and back 248 times.
Image credits: MagicalMonarchOfMo
#25A recently discovered vine can mimic nearby artificial plants, modifying the size, shape and colour of its leaves to match them. The only plausible explanation is that plants can see.
#26With the help of quantum tunneling, there is a 1 in 5.2^61 chance that the molecules in your hand and table would miss each other when slamming it, making your hand go through the table.
Image credits: Macury
#27When you lose weight it leaves on your breath.
So when people lose 100 lbs/ 50 kg, they have exhaled that much carbon.
Image credits: Long_Error_5153
#28Approximately 99.85% of all the mass in the solar system is concentrated in The Sun.
Image credits: Public_Breath6890
#29Cold or coldness doesn't really exist, as in, it is not a thing. But hot or hotness does exist and is a thing..
Cold is merely the word we use to describe the absence of heat. While heat is actually an energy that is present.
#30There are some Ice Age animals that are so perfectly preserved in permafrost that scientists have been able to find them still with all their soft tissue, hair, and organs. They even found a couple mammoths that still had liquid blood in them and I remember one scientist even tasting the mammoth meat.
Image credits: stitchmidda2
#31Most other planets cannot experience a full solar eclipse. The ratio of the size of the moon and sun just happens to be the same as the ratio of the distance of the moon and sun from earth.
#32T-rex lived 66million-ish years ago. Stegosaurus lived 155million-ish years ago. The gap between rex and stego is 16million-ish greater than between rex and present day.
Image credits: APotatoPancake
#33A speck of dust is halfway between the size of the sun and an atom.
#34If 2 pieces of the same type of metal touch in space, they will bond and be permanently stuck together. Space welding (cold welding).
#35Without the development of genuinely sci-fi travel technology like wormholes or hyperspace (which may not even be possible) 99.99+% of the universe will be forever locked off from us. Because of cosmic expansion, the various galactic clusters are moving away from our local cluster faster than we could ever catch up to them.
#36Caterpillars basically dissolve into liquid in the cocoon. The only thing left are the so called ‘imaginal discs’, groups of cells that contain all the information and the mechanism to turn that soup into the various body parts of a butterfly (the same applies for other insects).
#37Giraffe necks are actually too short to reach the ground, so they have to splay their legs in order to drink water.
#38A teratoma is a tumor that can grow hair, teeth and eyes.
Image credits: wolverine_553
#39There are actually blood vessels obstructing light from reaching certain areas in your eye, effectively creating a shadow. Your brain filters this out and essentially fills in the gaps so you don’t actually see this spiderweb-like network of black lines. However, you can visualise them by shining a light at a diagonal into your eye (not directly!) and gently wiggling it about. This means your brain doesn’t have enough time to filter it out and you see this spiderweb like network of blood vessels!
echnical instructions to clarify the actions involved. I find it easier to see this effect in a dark environment, so the contrast of the black shadow against the light is higher. You want to be staring straight ahead and shining the light into your pupil at a 45 degree angle from the side directed at your nose at about 10-20 cm away from them. Phone light will do great and have it on the dimmest setting if possible. Then wiggle the light in gentle 1 cm movements side to side. Keep this up for about a second at least and you should see them. Hope this clears it up a bit!
#40There are 8 times as many atoms in a teaspoonful of water as there are teaspoonfuls of water in the Atlantic ocean.
Image credits: cafeum
#41Both the absolute hottest and absolute coldest temperatures ever recorded in the known universe were achieved here on Earth.
The hottest temperature ever physically recorded in the known universe was when scientists at CERN used the Large Hadron Collider to collide lead ions. This produced a temperature flash of 5.5 trillion degrees celsius.
That’s 5,500,000,000,000°C. Convert to Fahrenheit, and you get this:
(5.5e+12°C × 9/5) + 32 = 9.9e+12°F
For the record, the current temperature at the core of our sun is around 15 million degrees celsius. 15,000,000°C. That’s 350,000x less intense than the flash produced by the lead ion particle collisions. That temperature, even if minuscule and fleeting in size and duration, was actually created here on Earth, in a lab. Let that sink in.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in the known universe was achieved relatively recently by a group of German researchers who achieved a nearly incomprehensible feat of 38 trillionths of a degree above -273.15°C, or more commonly known as Absolute 0° Kelvin. They did this by dropping magnetized gas down a nearly 400 foot tower in order to study a 5th state of matter; Bose-Einstein Condensate. For the record, weird s**t starts to happen near absolute 0°K. Example? Light turns into a liquid you can pour into a glass.
The coldest place we have recorded data from within our observable universe is the Boomerang Nebula, hovering nearly an entire degree (kelvin) above absolute zero. Still unfathomably cold.
So while we are still essentially infinity away from achieving Planck Temperature (the staggeringly high temperature of beyond decillions of degrees celsius in which conventional physics breaks down and we enter a whole new realm of theoretics) we are extremely, extremely close to achieving absolute 0°K here on Earth.
#42The Cosmic Horizon - there's vast swathes of space we will never be able to see or know anything about as space is expanding faster than the speed of light.
#43The human body has at least 150 billion neurons.
Image credits: FancyCrab77
Fold a “big sheet” of paper - that is 0.1 mm thick - 50 times and the height of stack is over 20 times the distance earth to moon. Thank you.
Image credits: laidmajority
#45Ice doesn't cool your water, the water heats up your ice. Energy transfers one way.
#46Solids and liquids don't burn. Only their vapours and gases. That's why you can't just throw a huge log on the fire and have it burn, you need to haul its temperature up until the surface starts pyrolysis and turning into a gas, which then burns.
#47There are no photos of the present.
Image credits: AccordingIce7627
#48When you decide to you move hand (as an example) the signal will already be half way down you arm by the time you have consciously decided to do it. There are two explanations. Something other that your conscious mind decided to move your hand or your conscious mind sent the signal around 20 milliseconds backwards in time.
#49That you can never physically touch anything. Basically the negative force from the electron cloud around atoms repels every other atom in existence. When we try to touch something, what we’re actually feeling is the resistance from the atoms in that object. For all practical purposes, this is touch, but in reality we can never feel anything but various forms of resistance.
#50The Cathedral Effect. If you work in a room with low ceilings, you will stay a bit more focused and be better at detailed, analytical work. If in a room with high ceilings, you will be more open and creative.
This can be simulated by wearing a brimmed hat if you’d want to hammer away at say data entry or data analysis.
#51When you sleep, your brain is consolidating memories and throwing out duplicate information, which is the reason why time appears to be speeding up. If you want to slow down and enjoy life, feed your brain new information and don’t do the same stuff every day.
#52The strongest known acid is called Fluroantimonic Acid and it is made by combining a solution of two different ions in various quantities. Without going too crazy into the scientific details, the part that blows my mind is that at certain ratios of the two ingredients you can get an acid that is 1 QUADRILLION TIME STRONGER THAN 100% PURE SULFURIC ACID.
At acidity levels like this pH fails to even be a useful metric, as the pH of any solution would certainly be less than 0. Additionally, it is so acidic that it can force carbon atoms to have 5 bonds instead of 4, breaking one of the fundamental principles of organic chemistry.
#53The Wow! signal came from a planet/bit in space 17,000 light years away. It emitted a signal 30x stronger than anything we can make today. It lasted for an entire 71 seconds, was on 1444Hz (frequency of hydrogen, most abundant thing in the universe) and we couldn't find the signal again after pointing to the same spot.
#54When you look up into the sky everything you see is in the past.
#55When the pyramids were built, there were still some Woolly Mammoths roaming the earth.
#56Our galaxy is on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy and will meet in about 4.5 billion years. Due to the vastness of the space between the contents of these galaxies, it's unlikely any stars/planets will actually hit each other.
#57How much empty space there is in atoms. Like how the f**k I'm a solid object, I'll never understand.
Image credits: boyvsfood2
#58Your head can live for up to 15 seconds without your body.
Image credits: Jx3c2
#59A hummingbird beats its wings 12 times a second.
#60There are about four times as many unique ways to shuffle a standard deck of playing cards as there are atoms in the Milky Way.
Image credits: MagicalMonarchOfMo
#61The average cloud weighs about 1 million pounds. It just floats because it is less dense than the air below it.
#62Reindeer eyes, normally brown, turn bright blue in winter to see in low-light conditions.
#63All of life can be tracked back to a (or several depending on who you ask) continuous billion plus year chemical reaction.
#64If the distance between earth and the sun were the thickness of a dime, the next closest star would be ten miles away.
#65All matter literally gives off light, but we can only see a sliver of that spectrum (although we do have tools to help us see other spectrums.)
Our bodies give off infrared, and are basically glowing in that portion of the spectrum similar to how iron glows to our normal vision when it’s heated. Something that sees a different spectrum than us might not see hot iron as glowing at the same temperatures we see iron glow at.