space science

These are the most bizarre and fascinating objects in the universe, from Fermi bubbles to pulsar worlds.

There are many bizarre objects in the universe.

But, Earth is all that we know. What may seem exotic or wild to us, is probably common across the entire cosmos. However, astronomers are only beginning to discover the mysteries of space.

Here are just four of many contenders for the title of the strangest object in the universe.


Black holes were previously thought to be only one size: small remnants from collapsed stars, or large black-holes that had masses exceedingly large (e.g. millions of suns). Astronomers confirmed the existence of intermediate mass black holes only recently. However, most black holes that we see are either small or large. One example of the latter is located at the center in every galaxy, including the Milky Way.

While supermassive black hole galaxies in other galaxies emit X-rays and violently spew large amounts of material, ours is unusually quiet. It’s almost as if we are a sleeping monster.

Our galactic nucleus, however, is not a complete mystery. We cannot see the 27,000-light-years distant nucleus because it is hidden behind dense layers of dusty gases, but other wavelengths of light are still visible. Sagittarius A was a radio telescope that detected the intense emission. Deeply buried in the radio noise, the black hole was given the unusual name Sagittarius A*/Sgr A*. It is pronounced “Sagittarius A star.”

Sagittarius A* is approximately 4 million solar mass, which is lighter than the cores of most galaxies. This much mass can be squeezed into a spherical volume that has a radius of just 13 million miles (21,000,000 kilometers), which is half the size of Mercury’s orbit. No one knows the true nature of this singularity. Or if some unidentified process has stopped its shrinkage from resulting in zero volume. Our physics fails.


Which planet was discovered beyond the solar system’s borders? Astro-geeks often cite the 1995 discovery of Jupiter-mass planet around naked-eye star 51 Pegasi. The truth is stranger. Three years ago, Aleksander Wolszczan (astronomer) and Dale Frail (astronomer) announced that they had discovered not one, but two planets. These orbited the strangest kind of star in all of the universe, a millisecond pulser.

It is called PSR B1257+12, and lies at a distance 980 light years from the constellation Virgo, the Virgin. It spins 161 times per second and is, along with all pulsars a neutron star which is the smallest and most visible object in the universe.

The discovery was made without the use of any telescope, or at least one that can gather visible light. The discovery was made by the Arecibo radio observatory, Puerto Rico. It has a collecting area of 1,000 feet (305 meters), and carefully monitors radio signals from pulsars. After two cable failures over the last few months, Arecibo Observatory was recently destroyed.

The magnetic poles produce electromagnetic energy that flows around the stars like a lighthouse beam. Each rotation produces radio flashes. These super-collapsed neutron star are never more than 20 miles (32 km) in diameter, and can spin wild at amusement parks with dozens to hundreds of rotations per seconds.


Galaxies are the biggest things in the universe. They are easy to identify and discuss, thanks to the fact that they only come in a few variations. Nearly all of them are either elliptical, irregular, or spirals. A few oddballs, however, fall outside of any of these categories and stand alone as a galaxy.

Arthur Hoag, an astronomer, discovered a small, faint, 16th magnitude ring around a ball-like central in 1950. He reasonably thought it was a planet nebula, which is a nearby puff expelled from one old-aged star. Later spectroscopic examinations proved that it wasn’t. Hoag believed that the object could be a peculiar galaxy. As if to prove the point that it is possible to increase your chances of success by making enough guesses, Hoag’s last prediction was correct.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s ultra-sharp opticals revealed Hoag’s Object in 2002 as a perfectly blue ring of stars and dust. It also included knotty clumps, which are still unsolved star clusters. This galaxy is, in other words, it is indeed a galaxy. Hoag’s Object doesn’t follow the traditional spiral pattern with arms wending inward towards the older, yellower star clusters that make up almost every galaxy’s nucleus. The nucleus is a single entity in space. It is located nearly 70,000 light years away, separated by near nothingness.

Hoag’s Object is 600 million light years away from us in the constellation Serpens Caput. It’s the rear half the writhing serpent held by Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer. The inner yellow core measures 24,000 light years across. This is almost as large as the core of the Milky Way. With a width of 120,000, the outer ring Hoag’s Object is almost equal in size to our galaxy. It almost seems as though an alien starship took the middle section of a galaxy and left the rest.


An amazing discovery was made by NASA’s Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope in November 2010. Two bubbles that are made entirely of powerful gamma radiations emerged from the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy.

It would have been quite strange if the bubbles that expand at 2.2 million mph (3.35 million km/h) were concentric and centered around the core of the galaxy. The two huge spheres hover above and below SagittariusA*, the Milky Way nucleus’ black hole. They are tangent to one another and touch at the galactic centre to create a squat hourglass shape. The whole structure looks similar to the number 8, or an infinity symbol.

It’s difficult to identify the most bizarre among all the strange and wild objects found in space. We’ll be able to learn more about the universe through the tireless efforts of astronomers in the future.