Strange Cosmic Facts

August 30th, 2016
The Universe is a strange and amazing place, as old as time itself with a scale that stretches beyond belief. Whenever you're feeling stressed or down, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, it's important to look up and remember just how big and mind-boggling the cosmos really is. Let's take a look at some of the strangest facts about the Universe to help you put things in perspective.

We are - literally - made of stars

While it sounds like a hippy bumper sticker or new age proclamation, we are actually made of stars. Almost all of the chemical elements that make up a person originate from the stars, including calcium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and around 60 other basic ingredients. According to famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, any element heavier than hydrogen comes from the stars: "They get so hot that the nuclei of the atoms fuse together deep within them to make the oxygen we breathe, the carbon in our muscles, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood. You, me, everyone: We are made of star stuff."

The Earth is smaller than you think

Even though the Earth seems large from the perspective of an individual person, relatively speaking, it is absolutely tiny. It would take more than one million Earths to fit inside the Sun, which itself is just one small star in a sea of 10 billion trillion other stars. To put this massive number into perspective, there are probably more stars out there than there are grains of sand on all of the world’s beaches. As if that wasn't enough to blow your mind, some scientists think the Universe is part of a much larger Multiverse that may even be infinite. ;

Human life is younger than you think

The Earth is much older than you think, with our favourite planet having existed for roughly 4.54 billion years. Human life has existed for a much shorter time, however, with the modern form of humans evolving around 200,000 years ago. According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, if we scaled the entire timeline of the cosmos to a single calendar year, the entire recorded history of human life to present day would be a mere 14 seconds: “Every person you’ve ever heard of lies right in there. All those kings and battles, migrations and inventions, wars and loves, everything in the history books happened here in the last 14 seconds of the cosmic calendar.”

The sun and moon appear to be the same size

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and wondered why the Sun and Moon are roughly the same size. While the Sun's diameter is 400 times larger than that of the moon, the Sun is also 400 times further away. This means that both objects look the same size from the position of Earth, a strange coincidence that gives rise to magnificent solar eclipses. According to some people, this strange synchronicity may even have helped to create the right biological conditions for human life to flourish.

Image source: Victoria Kalinina /