10 Hypothetical Astronomical Objects That Could Actually Exist
Humans have always been fascinated by the Space. The urge to find out what’s out there has lead to many assumptions, myths, revelation of secrets of space and most of all, more research programs to explore the universe. On the basis of what we have already found in the outer space, cosmologists keep coming up with ideas about other celestial bodies that could exist. But sometimes the odds of the existence of these objects are in favor. Here’s a list of 10 such hypothetical astronomical objects that could actually exist.
10. Zombie Star
As the name suggests, zombie stars are the stars that come back from the dead. Supernovae are known to mark the end of a star’s life but recently it has been brought to light that it is possible for a faint supernova to leave out a part of a star instead of completely obliterating it. The supernovae which destroy a star completely are Type Ia whereas the ones that give rise to zombie stars are Type Iax. They are quite similar except for the fact that Type Iax supernovae occur at a rate between 5 and 30 percent of the Ia supernova rate. 30 supernovae have been identified as Type Iax till date. And of course, since the zombie stars are ‘zombies,’ they got to feed on their fellow stellar masses. NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has spotted a mysterious glow of high-energy X-rays that, according to scientists, could be the “howls” of dead stars as they feed on stellar companions. There are four theories scientists have come up with to explain this and three of them involve zombie stars. According to one theory, a type of stellar zombie called a pulsar could be at work. Pulsars are the collapsed remains of stars that exploded in supernova blasts. They can spin extremely fast and send out intense beams of radiation.
9. White Holes
Scientists working on black holes came up with this theory. White holes are the regions of space time which can’t be reached from outside. A white hole would have properties which are exactly opposite to those of black holes. Black holes are known to engulf all the matter inside them so white holes would ‘spit out’ all the matter, outside. Black holes are formed by the death of stars and if a supernova is not swallowing any matter, it is not yet a black hole. This means that without any matter inside, black holes do not exist since white holes are exactly opposite, they would cease to exist even if something as little as a cookie crumb enters them. Which also explains the fact that white holes could have existed a long long time ago. It is difficult to spot a white hole in the universe today because our universe is full of matter which is an ideal condition to destroy a white hole as soon as it is formed.
8. Dyson Sphere
The Dyson Sphere was actually a myth in the Indo-European culture that said that the Sun in its prenatal stage was enclosed by a rock. The idea was first talked about by Olaf Stapledon in his science fiction novel Star Maker. However, the concept was popularized by Freeman Dyson in his 1960 paper “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation.” Dyson sphere is a way of utilizing 100% of a sun’s energy by surrounding it with a ring or shell of matter. If we are able to form a Dyson Sphere, we would be able to generate 384 yottawatts of energy, that is, the total power output of the sun (1 yottawatt = 10^24 watts). However, we do not, yet, have the means to build one, but there is a possibility to find a Dyson Sphere somewhere in the universe. If that happens it would hint that an utterly intelligent alien species exists somewhere near the sphere.
7. Black Dwarf
Red, brown and white dwarfs have been discovered so far. It is believed that when a white dwarf has cooled down enough it turns into a black dwarf. Black dwarfs do not have any mass, neither any source of heat. The Big Bang left the universe filled up with a radiation known as Cosmic Microwave Background which currently has an average temperature of 2.7 Kelvin. The white dwarf, in order for turning into a black dwarf, needs to cool down to an extent so low that it matches the CMB. The universe, however, is too young yet, for a celestial body to become that cool. The coolest white dwarf is an observational limit to estimate when a black dwarf could be formed. The age of the universe being 13.8 billion years, no black dwarfs are expected to come into existence anytime soon. But once it has aged enough and the white dwarfs cool adequately, the till date called hypothetical, black dwarfs could come into existence.
6. Quark Star
Quarks are the fundamental constituents of all matter. According to scientists when a medium sized star, that is 1.44 times larger than ours, explodes, it results in the formation of a quark star. When a star is running out of fuel, it enters a collapsing stage, in which the protons and electrons are squeezed together which eventually, results in the formation of neutrons. The star being heavy (given the medium size condition above), a lot of neutrons would be packed in a very small space which would cause them to break even further, into quarks, which are an incredibly dense type of matter. These stars could have a thin nuclear crust consisting of heavy ions immersed in electron gas. They could also be without crusts which would lead to quark stars possessing ultra-high electric fields that could reach up to 10^19 Volts per centimeter.
5. Ocean Planet
Ocean planets are believed to be exoplanets entirely covered with water. These are believed to be formed far from their sun and migrate towards it over a period of million years. These planets could harbor aquatic life. The idea of ocean planets was developed when NASA discovered the Kepler system. The five-planet Kepler-62 system lies 1,200 light-years away, making it much too distant for current instruments to study in detail. So any talk of potential life on Kepler-62e and f, is just speculation for now. The hypothesis that Kepler-62e is a water world would perhaps make civilization more difficult to achieve, at least by our own understanding. There could still be fairly advanced organisms lurking in the water.
4. Chthonian Planets
A planet nicknamed Orisis baffled scientists when they found that the planet leaked Carbon and Oxygen. It was soon concluded that the planet’s atmosphere was evaporating. After discovering this, scientists named this category as the Chthonian planets. When gas giants like Jupiter enter a certain distance from their parent star, they are stripped off their atmospheric crust. Thus, Chthonian planets are the remaining dense cores of the planets which used to be gas giants when they were at a respectable distance from their parent stars.
3. Preon Star
Theoretically, when quarks are broken down, point like structures are obtained which are called preons. Hence, a Preon star is formed when a Quark star collapses. If a preon star is found it would contradict two major principles; one being the Higgs Boson theory and the other being ‘The Standard Model of Physics.’ Preons, if found, will have a density of at least 10^23 kg per meter cube. This will negate the standard model of physics which sets a density limit of matter density which is far lower than this. If preons stars are found, the principles about the very fundamental particles of matter will have to be re-established. Although it is widely accepted that quarks are the fundamental constituents of matter, it could be false. As atom was believed to be the building block of matter until protons and electrons were discovered. Just because two widely accepted theories will be falsified if preon stars are discovered, does not mean that they do not exist.
2. Ghost Galaxy
Ghost galaxies are also called dark galaxies because they have few or no stars which makes them basically invisible In fact, one such galaxy as big as the Milky Way has been found which is 99.99% dark matter. Dark matter is quite a mysterious kind of matter since all we know is that 80% of the universe is made up of it. This dark galaxy, named Dragonfly 44, was first detected in 2015. Since these galaxies do not have any major light they are hard to spot. The team that discovered Dragonfly 44 is working on finding a dark galaxy that it is even closer than it to earth. The ultimate goal is learning about dark matter.
1. Cosmic Strings
Cosmic strings are 1-dimensional topological defects which may have formed during a symmetry breaking phase transition in the early universe. If cosmic strings are found at all, the number would be considerably high, enough to produce at least a billion loops throughout the visible universe today. According to a popular theory, in the hot and dense universe three of the four forces of nature (weak, strong and electromagnetic) were unified but in the cooler universe, they separated. When this symmetry among the forces broke, it might have created topological defects in the form of strings. If they are found, backward time travel could be made possible, although there is no hint about it in Einstein’s theory.