The Universe beyond our own solar system is slowly coming into focus, and every discovery seems to add new bafflement to our understanding of how things work.
Of course, we know that the Universe is big, mind-bogglingly big. Probably bigger than that. And now we are just beginning to observe how strange it is, at least to our tiny minds. As Douglas Adams said, “there is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.”
One advantage we have when studying the Universe is that we are, well, tiny. As such, we do not necessarily see solid or even liquid structures. As a human looking at a solid object – breakfast, for instance – we see eggs and bacon and that smoothy that we will definitely drink one day – we do not see atoms and molecules, proteins and a lot of empty space.
Scientists observing the Universe report spectacularly interesting and bizarre new sightings every week.
Most things seem to spin on the same plane, with occasional exceptions, which diverts scientists for a while. Recently one team discovered the possible twin of our own ‘possible’ Planet Nine (more of that later).
A recent theory based on sightings that seemed even more bizarre than usual (in other words, we have no idea how to slot that into our current knowledge) is that the Universe seems to be governed by gigantic structures. These structures make sense because galaxies and other celestial bodies seem to work in the same way and on the same plane, even when they are so far apart (hundreds of millions of light-years) that there is no logical (human) way to understand how they can affect each other.
It puts our current theories of the Universe as a series of blobs expanding outwards into serious doubt.
The other thing that we are beginning to see with our increasing ability to study the Universe is that it comprises filaments, knots, sheets and clumps of energy that look much like strands of matter, all connected. For instance, 19 supermassive black holes billions of light-years apart are aligned on the same plane.
Scientists are working on these giant structures, hoping that they will shed light on objects that are so big that we can see between their atoms but have no solid structure knowledge.
The only thing that is as baffling as how the Universe works is how our own tiny but extraordinary brains work.
Wait, could it be? No, surely. Not a brain within a brain within a brain, doing something inconceivable? Like searching for the Answer.
And, to let your brain cool down a little, here are some of the Hubble telescope’s best images.