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The Freakiest Things NASA Has Discovered
An artist’s impression of a “vampire” star, KSN: BS-C11a system. Photo Credit: NASA/L. Hustak, STScI/R. Ridden-Harper, STScI & Australian National University

Vampire Stars

  • Year Discovered: 1995
  • Location: Found Throughout Universe

One of the freakiest things NASA discovered is certainly the existence of vampire stars. They get their name honestly, as one star manages to suck the energy away from another. Usually, this involves a binary star system where usually one white dwarf star is primary and a second mass transferring star is secondary. The stars are incredibly close to one another, causing gravity from the white dwarf to distort the secondary star. The white dwarf is accreting matter from its companion.

The Freakiest Things NASA Has Discovered
Artist’s impression of a vampire star and its victim. Photo Credit: ESO/L. Calcada/S.E. de Mink

This companion star is often called a “donor star” as it’s giving itself to the white dwarf. The infalling matter is rich in hydrogen too, only helping the dwarf star’s energy. An accretion disk is formed, where strong UV and X-Ray emissions are present. The companion star eventually loses gravitational energy. Usually, the white dwarf gets what it needs, but it can suck up too much from its companion and reach a Type Ia supernova. This is all so vampire-like that it’s scary.

The Freakiest Things NASA Has Discovered
The coolest exo-planet, which may be just 5.5 Earth masses, orbits a red dwarf that lies about 22,000 light years from the Sun. Photo Credit: ESO

Planet Made Completely Of Ice Is On Fire

  • Year Discovered: 2013
  • Location: Gliese 436 Star System, Leo Constellation

Have you ever put your hand under super-hot water and your hand originally was cold until you experienced the burn? What about a warm feeling before touching something bitterly cold? This is not just something humans experience, as it can (sort of) happen to planets too. The Gliese 436b planet is certainly a paradox for astronomers. This exoplanet is almost exclusively made from ice. Yet somehow, it is also on fire.

The Freakiest Things NASA Has Discovered
An artistic rendering shows a Neptune-sized exoplanet orbiting behind its star. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On the surface of the planet, the temperature reaches 822 degrees Fahrenheit (439 degrees Celsius). In spite of this, the planet maintains its icy landscape, remaining completely frozen. How does it accomplish this? At first, scientists did not know but eventually, they found that the immense gravitational force exerted by the planet’s core was the cause. This force makes ice much denser, allowing it to handle high levels of heat. It even compresses water vapor that might normally evaporate.

The Freakiest Things NASA Has Discovered
White hole in space. Photo Credit: Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock

White Holes

  • Year Discovered: 2006 (assumed)
  • Location: Universal

We all know by now that black holes suck up everything around them. While it might appear to those watching that something is moving into the black hole at a snail-slow pace, it is long gone. This is quite interesting because as a black hole absorbs things, most assume it can only absorb so much before it must spit stuff out. This is why many assumed for years that black holes might open up elsewhere. The proposal that something like this had to be the case comes from Igor Novikov.

The Freakiest Things NASA Has Discovered
White hole. Photo Credit: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock

In 1964, the Russian Physicist used Einstein’s field equations to come to his conclusion. He coined the “white hole” theory, which proposed that, unlike a black hole that uses gravity to suck things up, white holes use gravity to push things away. Which made many assume that the white hole spits out things a black hole absorbed. NASA has come across things that appeared like white holes. While they might not operate exactly as we assumed, it appears to be at least possible.

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