This world as we know it comprises of different particles and energy fields that physicists are still trying to understand.
Whether it’s by using the best microscopes to split atoms or building a state of the telescopes to find out more about distant celestial bodies the universe is full of awe-inspiring and baffling phenomena.
Here are 11 of the greatest unanswered questions that scientists have no solid conclusions for:
What is dark matter?
The universe is made of matter. But 80% of the matter is something that we have no clue about. Scientists can only say that it’s there through the movements of stars, planets and other celestial bodies, but don’t know exactly how much of it is there.
The reason why it’s called dark matter is that it’s still unknown and has kept scientists and researchers alike in the dark. Most of the dark matter is speculated to be non-baryonic and thought to be made up of new and different subatomic particles.
What is dark energy?
Cosmologists discovered ordinary matter and dark matter.
But there is a third thing that is still baffling scientists, it’s dark energy. It is basically the same thing as dark matter with not being known or undiscovered, but on an energy level. The universe is governed by the laws of matter and energy as explained by Einstein and dark energy is one of the components that helps expand it.
How were heavy elements from iron to uranium made?
Dark matter and dark energy are known to be one of the oldest elements or components of the universe. There were light elements such as lithium and helium permeating in the universe. The heavier elements were formed inside the stars due to various nuclear reactions.
Scientists say that heavy elements such as iron are made from explosions in the supernova when the protons of uranium collide and react with other elements.
Do neutrinos have mass?
Neutrinos are subatomic particles that are the result of nuclear reactions made by stars when they make heavy elements. They belong to a group called leptons. They are never in contact with ordinary matter and that’s why they can easily be a part of the stars.
Physicists are only now trying to capture and study them.
Where do ultra high-energy particles come from?
The ultra-high energy particles that include neutrinos and other gamma-ray photons are known as cosmic rays, they are entering the earth’s atmosphere all the time. Even as you are reading this, these cosmic rays are permeating the space around you. Their origins are still unknown to scientists, but it’s speculated that they were created after the Big Bang itself.
Is there any other explanation for what occurs at extremely high energies and temperatures?
All the nuclear reactions that create gamma rays leave some trail of radiation. Gamma rays permeate the atmosphere from various directions in the sky as they enter our atmosphere. The light bursts have been concluded to be the result of supernova explosions that collide with other supernovas and black holes.
At extremely high temperatures they come into contact with radiation and thus create new matter. However, the exact result of these high energies and temperatures can’t be determined as of yet.
Is there a new state of matter at these super high temperatures?
Matter goes through different transitions and states under extreme energy and temperatures. The atoms and molecules break down and react with one another so they create what is known as quark plasma matter, which is still being researched on.
Are protons unstable?
Yes and no. Don’t worry, the protons inside you won’t disintegrate and make you a pile of mush. It takes a few billion or even trillion years for protons to become unstable. However, three atomic forces if collided can create quarks and cause them to be unstable.
What is gravity?
Well if the apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head wasn’t clear enough then you are stepping it into a vast subject. Gravitational fields are what keep the matter in their place together. Various objects travel at their own speed and have their own weight depending on the gravitational pull.
It is an invisible force that pulls all mass-based objects closer to each other.
Are there other dimensions?
The theory of a multiverse is quite famous. There is a possibility of other dimensions being present but for now, it is just a theory and no physical and concrete evidence has proven to crack the space-time continuum.
How did the universe begin?
Astronomers and physicists can’t see all the way back in time to know exactly what created the universe, but the Big Bang Theory is still the most acceptable theory out there. Different protons, neutrons, elements and forces of energy reacted with each other to make a cataclysmic explosion that resulted in various solar systems, galaxies and matter in space.
Scientists are still working to find concrete answers to all these questions but for now, these theories are all what we can only latch on to.